Curried Lentil Soup, Rescuing Cats, and Self-Improvement (or Sabotage?)

First and foremost, throwing this out here (more on my latest rescue mission below):

PLEASE HELP WITH THE RESCUE AND VETTING OF THE VARET ST. CATS!!!

For the first time in a long time, there is an actual recipe featured on this blog (scroll down, if you don’t believe me). I love cooking and I love writing as two separate pastimes, but writing down the recipes from my head is frankly, rather tedious and time-consuming, and I find no pleasure in it. I wish I had someone to take notes as I cook and then translate the process into instructions and a list of measured out ingredients (I don’t use measuring tools when I cook, and this is why I hate baking – precise measuring is required).

Christmas has now come and gone (how many other blogs have I started with these exact words?), and it’s almost February – one of my favorite months of the year. Christmas this year was pretty great for me – I was able to work from home the entire week between my nephew’s birthday on the 19th, right up until a couple of days after Christmas when I decided to curtail my binge eating and head back to the city (I ate non-stop for an entire week while I was at my parents’ house… and you could certainly tell). We had snow before Christmas, and after Christmas while I was upstate, but not ON Christmas, unfortunately. Christmas day was about 53 degrees and rainy (thanks, global warming!). I took both cats out for a stroll on their leash in my parents’ backyard to test out the snow – Peeper loved it and didn’t want to come back inside (despite the fact that it was cold and windy), and poor Tuna hated it.

Peeper enjoying the snow on Christmas Eve – I can’t wait to have a house and backyard some day so he can ejoy the pleasures of nature and the great outdoors more often

Christmas Eve dinner took place at my sister’s house. I made a delicious cocktail with a limited edition Hendrick’s gin, pomegranate juice, lime juice, and fresh thyme. After we came back from dinner, I helped my mom finish up some gingerbread man cookies and chilled. I did a whole lot of chilling for a week, which was exactly what I needed (maybe, without the sedentary days and non-stop potato chip consumption). I truly love being home – although maybe not for periods of longer than four days. Despite hating life in the city, I was itching to go home after a full week under my parents’ roof (no offense to my parents).

Christmas Eve cocktails: Hendrick’s Lunar gin, fresh lime, pomegranate juice, seltzer, maple syrup and a sprig of fresh thyme

I feel like every time I write a blog here I extol the virtues of being surrounded by nature and quiet, but if you are living in a major city and haven’t left your urban metropolis recently, I encourage you to do so. Especially if you’re stressed or suffering anxiety (or anger issues, like I do from time to time) – getting out of the madness of the urban jungle and listening to the sounds of birds chirping and silence at night is what we all need for a hard reset sometimes. Find the cheapest hotel or Airbnb you can and just spend minimal time there; take advantage of your family or friend’s offer to let you stay with them if that is an option. Even if it isn’t the “nicest” or “coolest” small town (lord knows my hometown in Chenango county certainly is no Woodstock or Hudson), getting out of the city is better than not getting out at all. I am hoping to go home next month, maybe after my birthday. I also think I’d like to go to a salon while I’m home and go back to red hair without paying a fortune in order to do so (I am so over being this blonde – it just isn’t me).

Mornings at my parents’ house

I am thankful that I spent as much time at home as I did this year. Usually, work and the combination of my boyfriend’s work schedule mean that I am never home for more than three days and do not get to see all of the family I hope to see while I am home.

My aunt and uncle’s Victorian style tree – always my favorite

My plan was to return to the city so that I could celebrate NYE here properly, since everything was cancelled last year. However, my plans were once again foiled. My boyfriend, who assured me he would be out by 12:30AM at the latest, did not get home from work until 3AM. Naturally, I was passed out on the couch, and he was exhausted from having worked a 15 hour shift. It sucks since we bought tickets to a party that only went on until 5AM. We decided to go out the next night, but that also turned out to be a dud. It was pouring rain, and the party we decided to check out at The Good Room in Greenpoint, turned out to be a gay party. We stayed 20 minutes before peacing out and going back home. Nothing against the gays, but it’s not really fun to be at a gay party unless you’re a gay man looking to get laid.

Before wasting more money on party tickets for another party we wouldn’t stay at, we had dinner at Maison Premiere. That was the highlight of the weekend for me. They reopened a few months ago, having been closed for all of 2020 and most of 2021, and I was so happy to be back for the first time since February 2020 – it is one of my favorite Williamsburg staples. The atmosphere, small plates, and cocktails are the best (although the prices are not).

We sat at the bar – super cozy, although the service sucked on this particular night. I’m pretty sure the bartender/our waiter was drunk on the clock. I mean, I don’t care and I don’t blame him. Who TF wants to work the day of New Year’s Day? At least of the food was great!

The food was just as great as it has always been. I had the steak tartare (It’s my weakness and uncannily enough, my favorite food ever, despite my best efforts to NOT eat meat….). We also had oysters, mussels, and the cod toast (another favorite). This place is such a gem – I am so happy they’re back in business! Would definitely not recommend if you’re on a tight budget and very hungry though… there are much better paces to go if you’re ravenous or want to get lit (cocktails are too expensive to get lit here).

I try not to eat meat and usually succeed. The only exceptions: steak tartare is on the menu or I am at my parents’ house for more than 3 days…..

I am honestly kind of relieved that our NYE and NYD were so low-key. Every time I party now, I basically need a whole 48 hours to recover. Partying honestly isn’t as fun as it used to be – the prices they charge for tickets these days should honestly include a gram of the drug of your choice, since they are so fucking steep. I also think I have an allergy to alcohol. If I have more than two glasses of wine, I wake up looking like Charlize Theron as Aileen Wournos in Monster. I digress ….

My aunt and uncle gifted us a certificate for a shop in Greene, NY, that I had never heard of: Hymn & Hawe. I was expecting a gift store or some sort of country store akin to the Masonville general store (which I love), but my expectations were far surpassed upon entering the store. Not everything was necessarily my style, but they had a lot of very nice furniture at what seemed like very reasonable prices. They also had a really nice selection of art from estate sales, and we ended up buying both a print-on-canvas, and also a small painting of Venice! I definitely am looking forward to going back to this store, and highly recommend to anyone living in the area.

Snapped one final picture of our little tree before taking it down. The painting on the right is one of the purchases from Hymn & Hawe! Also, don’t judge the scratched up couch…. this poor couch is now 16 years old and has seen better days, but we are not buying a new one until we move. I will also make it a point to train the cats to NOT scratch the couch, once we have a new one.

I must say, I am very sad I no longer have my little Christmas tree to brighten up the apartment. I milked it for all it was worth, and left it up until a few days after epiphany. The poor thing was dry as a bone and shedding like crazy. I was truly tempted to buy a light-pink fake tree and decorate it for Valentines day, but let’s face it – this apartment doesn’t really have room to spare or storage space. Plus, I am against buying more plastic, if I can help it (although I think the concept of a pink tree is really cool, and the idea of a Valentines tree is still tempting).

Work has slowed down to the point where I am once again questioning the security of my position. There is truly no in-between for this industry: it’s either a balls-to-the-wall, 55-hour grind of a work week, that makes me feel absolutely psychotic and explosive, or it’s a radio silence, bare-minimum 35-hour week, that I treasure, since I can actually live my life, but also makes me worried I’m about to be “let go” at any given minute. A happy medium would be nice. When work is slow and I fear losing my job, I just make sure to tell myself to enjoy each day, since I am still able to get out for walks, cook leisurely meals, and chill after 6PM without my email notifications blowing up all night. Thankfully, the week of Christmas wasn’t crazy and I was able to enjoy my time home.

Snapped this picture from my apartment building’s roof one night between Christmas and NYE. There is something magical about a burning/vibrant sunset when it’s otherwise so cold out in the Winter season. I call this shot “Sunset over the Projects”

I truly love that week in between Christmas and the New Year – even though I haven’t had that week off since I was a college student of 20. I love that everyone seems to be in a happy, laissez-faire mood. No one at work is in a rush to get things done, everyone is happy and satiated from Christmas celebrations and the abundance of high-fat foods, sweets and chocolate in their lives. People are jolly and good-spirited. I wish every week could be like this week generally is. The world would certainly be a better place. I am happy January is almost over – it is the most depressing month of the year, once the Christmas decorations come down and everyone resumes work and daily life again. It’s also so dark and dreary in January – snow would definitely help to brighten the situation, but we haven’t really had any that has stuck so far in NYC. We had a snow the week after New Year’s Day, but it had melted almost fully by the second day after the initial snowfall.

Tuna, enjoying the fresh snowfall from the comfort of his favorite day-time sleeping spot

I am hoping that we have some more snow in time for Valentine’s Day (not that I celebrate) and/or the week of my birthday. I’m sure If I am able to go upstate following my Birthday, there will be snow – there usually is in late February/early March.

Other than working my day job (that’s how I like to think of my job… as a “day” job – it helps put life into perspective), I am currently focused on getting healthy (when am I not?) and also rescuing four cats that are trapped across the street. I’ve been coordinating with Greenpoint Cats and a couple of other local cat rescues to set things up, and we will be trapping them this weekend. Long story short (because I could certainly go on a rant of epic proportions right now), the cats are not and spayed/neutered and have never seen a vet. They are not exactly spring chickens either. These poor cats do not get direct sunlight and have lived their entire lives in the shade of a building and the confining walls of some shoddy courtyard where they are confined. I have no idea what the bottom/ground of this courtyard looks like, and I am kind of scared to find out (I hope it’s not cluttered with litter, garbage, broken bottles, trash, etc., but something tells me it is). They’ve also had litters of kittens that have died from lack of care and exposure over the years, and the worst part, is that they have to climb a 6-story fire escape (in all kinds of inclement weather) in order to eat. The guy who has been feeding them isn’t the one who brought them in – apparently the building super brought them in as rodent control for the basement of the building. I’ve been told that they have “access to the basement” (whatever that means), but I really do wonder how they get in and out and if it is at all warm in the basement. I highly doubt the poor cats have bedding down there.

Anyhow, we will be trapping them this weekend and then they’re off to see the vet on Monday. I started a GoFundMe to raise money for the cost of their vet visits/spaying/neutering surgeries, which will undoubtedly add up fast considering they are senior cats and have had no preventative care up until this point. If you’d like to donate, please see below link. All leftover donations go directly towards helping other cats in need.

IF YOU’D LIKE TO DONATE:

HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF THE VARET ST. CATS (GoFundMe)

Here is one of the four cats that we will be trapping, vetting, and finding a foster home for
The very top fire escape (six stories up) is where these cats are fed. I’m not even sure how they make it up these iron ladders, but it pains me to know they have to make this dangerous climb in order to stay alive. Imagine if they were sick or injured and couldn’t make this climb? They’d sadly starve.

The shittiest part about living in a low-income neighborhood surrounded by projects, is the abundance of strays and the neglect/abuse of animals that seems to be rampant. I don’t care about the mentally ill, possibly dangerous homeless men smoking crack on the street, or the fact that gangs sell drugs on the street corner two blocks down, or even that someone was stabbed to death in a local deli a couple of years ago. I’m a grown woman with pepper spray, a taser, and a hot temper, and I can and will fend for myself. What I care about, are all of the animals suffering on the streets here, without a voice, with no choice in the matter of their circumstances, and their daily suffering, which is overlooked by almost everyone passing by. I know it hard for people to care about animals when they are struggling to feed and house themselves and their family and living in poverty. But it blows my mind that these people, the same ones who struggle to put food on the table for their kids and themselves, think taking in a kitten is a good idea. These kittens are the ones that end up un-spayed or un-neutered on the street 8 months later, when the family decides they can no longer afford to take care of it, or they abandon their 6-year old cat in a crate in the middle of winter, when the cat keeps peeing on the couch because it has a UTI they left untreated (don’t even get my started on the people who hoard animals, or get dogs they keep confined to a kennel). I know that people of all income brackets are capable of animal abuse and neglect, but it is way more prevalent in neighborhoods like mine, where the majority of families struggle to live day-to-day life and keep their human kids clothed and fed. There are stray cats all over my neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and most people do not bat an eye at their suffering, because they just don’t have the time, energy, or resources to care or help. Oftentimes, they do not even know that sources are available to help, at no cost of their own. Sorry… I could keep going, but I’ll stop.

This dress is currently for sale on my Poshmark, if anyone wants to buy. I bought it used on Tradesy, thinking it would be perfect for a NYE party, but clearly that didn’t go as planned. I also have a sensitive neck, and the choker-collar feels really restrictive ;p

Onto the recipe! Sorry for the very long-winded diversion…

CURRIED LENTIL SOUP (to feed the soul)

The soup so good, you’ll finish the pot in 2 days (at least that’s what I do… and then pay the ultimate price in bloating from the lentils)

Warning: lentils are high in fiber and therefore can make you extremely bloated (especially if you’re like me and finish the entire pot of soup in two days). I would not recommend eating this soup if you have a hot date the night of, plan to wear a body-conscious dress or crop top, or plan to have sexy times (if you know what I’m saying). The great thing is, that because of the high fiber content, this soup will also make you go to the bathroom (I don’t need to get into specifics), and you’ll have the flattest stomach ever after your morning coffee the next day. LOL.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of dried red lentils (green lentils or French lentils could also work)
  • 2 medium-sized carrots (chopped)
  • 1/2 of a large white/yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
  • 2 stalks of celery (diced)
  • 1 pack of frozen spinach, or 1 box of fresh spinach
  • 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your pot)
  • Approx. 4 cups of chicken, vegetarian chicken, or veggie stock (I use the “Better Than Chicken” bouillon and just add it to the boiling water!)
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 3 TBS (yellow) curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp granulated/powdered garlic
  • a generous pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste (salt usually isn’t needed since the curry powder is salty and the stock may be salty if using bouillon as the base)
  • **Feel free to add in the following if you have on hand, or need to use up: Mushrooms, potatoes (1 or 2 max), arugula, any other veggie you think might go well!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prep the veggies – Wash veggies where applicable and chop the onion, carrots, celery and mince the garlic (carrots and celery do not have to be chopped finely)
  2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over low heat, add in the onions stirring occasionally and cooking over low-heat until translucent and yellow.
  3. Add in the celery and garlic and continue to cook over low heat for another 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add in the dried lentils, the carrots, all of the veggie/chicken stock, and raise temperature and bring to a gentle boil.
  5. Cook at a gentle boil until the carrots and lentils are almost tender – about 10-12 minutes (I think?)… occasionally sample a lentil or two to see how tender they are..
  6. Once the lentils are softened, add in the crushed tomatoes and spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted (or, in the case of frozen, is no longer frozen)
  7. Turn down the heat and add in the spices – tasting as you go along to make sure everything is coming together nicely. You may need to play around with the ratio of spices (I do not measure with measuring tools – just taste testing)
  8. Continue to cook over low heat until the lentils begin to break apart (that’s how soft they should be!)
  9. Finally, add in the can of coconut milk, stir in so it’s incorporated, and if necessary, add 1-1.5 TBS of sugar and any additional spices you think it might need to reach its best potential
I usually use frozen spinach, but my local deli only had fresh
The onions and celery take way longer to soften than carrots or potatoes, so always saute these a bit before adding the others!
Seriously though – this soup is one of my favorites. It is rich and flavorful and vegan (without trying to be) as long as you don’t use chicken stock!

In other, more superficial news, I am so over my blonde hair. I thought it would bring me joy – it brings me none. I thought it would make me feel pretty – it makes me feel trashy. It’s been almost 2 months now since I bleached it. I think I will go back to a nice strawberry-blonde shade sometime soon. I just worry that my hair is not healthy enough to fuck with right now, since I’ve been experiencing a lot of breakage since the bleach. I was warned – I should have listened. Live and learn I guess, right?

I spent a good two hours trying on a number of dresses that have never seen the light of day in preparation for NYE. These poor dresses – won’t someone please take them out and show them a good time???!
Blonde, crispy hair, not a good look for me…I really miss my red hair. Also, be careful who injects you – I tried lip fillers for the first time in November, and had to have lumps dissolved this month, even though I paid standard pricing and went to a reputable place. Thankfully they look much better after they dissolved the lumps, but I would recommend a Dr. as opposed to an RN, even if all they do is inject… Dr./Board Certified Dermatologist pricing is really the same, as I’ve recently found out

I feel like having COVID and living through 2020/2021 in NYC had added years to my face, aesthetically speaking. I was tired of looking tired, even when I didn’t feel tired inside, so I decided to take time back (at least, aesthetically speaking, since we can never get that time back), and so I tried botox for the first time in November at the age of 33. It’s a decision I am happy I made – I no longer wake up with lines on my forehead that don’t go away during the day. And, despite the fact that I used to talk mad shit about girls with obvious lip fillers (*I regret having this attitude*), I also decided to take the plunge and try lip fillers in November. The real deciding factor in both of these decisions? EVERYBODY’S DOING IT. That sounds terrible – and who the fuck wants to be a follower?! Not me, although, I guess now I am to some extent… Honestly though, I live in NYC (I assume this is the same scenario with any major city) and *almost* EVERYONE from the age of 27 on is having work done, if they can afford it. Most people just don’t talk about it openly, but if you scroll back a few years on their IG account, you can tell.

I have always liked the shape of my lips, but in recent years (maybe the past 5), I feel like they’ve deflated significantly (kind of like how a helium balloon looks, 5 days after the party has ended), and they look perpetually dry, even when I am quite hydrated. The only time my lips have looked truly luscious in recent years, is after a night of drinking and/or high sodium intake – I would wake up and hate that the rest of my face and body was bloated and puffy AF, but I’d admire how full and pouty my lips were. I feel like it’s still taboo to some extent, to talk about shit like this (that’s why I’m writing about it here, where only a select few will read). But, if you know me and see me regularly, you can probably (scratch that: DEFINITELY) tell when you see me (in person), that they’re bigger… so I thought I’d just throw it out here (for anyone who reads this). It was actually kind of another spur of the moment decision (kind of like this blonde hair… I told you, I am clearly going through some sort of crisis…), but one that I do not regret. I had them done at JECT when I got my botox.

I should have taken into account how long I’d be bruised from the ordeal – I had them done the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and they were still bruised and swollen AF when I had to go home and face my family five days later. Naturally, I had to admit what I had done to my sister and my brother, who both separately confronted me. My parents played it cool, but my sister told me that my dad separately brought it up to her and my mom, saying “I think she may have had her lips enhanced.” Apparently my mom, ever oblivious, replied “You know she always likes to over-line her lips, Tom.” This actually makes me chuckle, because that much is true. I spent the ages of 19 – 28 over-lining my lips in an attempt to make them look bigger, before I realized how obvious it looked in broad daylight, and then stopped doing any sort of lip color altogether until now. Side note: you can totally get away with over-lining and clever lip gloss placement in a dark restaurant or nightclub, or even a photo, but in real life and in natural light, it looks not-so-good (especially up close).

Anyhow, after the swelling went down (which literally took a full 2 weeks for me), I had a couple of unsightly lumps which were a dead give away that I’d had injections, and also made me super self-conscious when talking with people. I went back to JECT and they dissolved the lumps (free of cost, since it was their fault), and I am now completely happy with the results. I am happy that my top lip no longer completely disappears when I smile (which is honestly probably part of my endearing charm to those who know me (JK), but also something I’ve been self conscious of for most of my life). I am also happy I no longer feel self-conscious when my face is in its natural, resting bitch face, which always gave my mouth a particularly stern and thin appearance.

Anyhow, I feel lucky to be in a place in my life where I can finally afford to finance these endeavors… I probably would have done this years ago if I wasn’t struggling financially. I hate myself for giving into the pressure, but at the same time I feel so much better when I wake up and assess my face each morning. I wish I didn’t care so much, it goes against all of my feminist ideals… but I always have cared and sadly, I always will.

Another beautiful (to me) dress that has never left the confines of my closet. Won’t someone please think of the dresses?!
This For Love and Lemons dress is still waiting for its moment to shine. I wish I was a kept woman or a lady who lunches – someone who never had to worry about going to bed to wake up and work a corporate job ever again. I already help people and animals in my spare time. Imagine all the animals and people in need I can help if I’m not depending on a 9-5 job to pay rent/bills??? I think that is my true calling – that and somehow combining my love of food and cooking. Maybe I can open a restaurant where half of the proceeds go towards local rescue groups. I just need the initial funding…

A Christmas Story: The Remorseful Bleaching of my Hair

I put up a Christmas tree of my own for the very first time in 9 years of living independently… I am so happy I did, because it has been one of the few things giving me some sense of peace and joy in this world

I can and can’t believe that it has been over two months since I last wrote a blog entry. Time has been flying since I started my new job in October…

It is currently only five days until Christmas, and I am working from my parents house this week, which will be a nice and much needed change of scenery. You know me: I’m always happy to GTFO of NYC. I am here with my cats for the next week, and my boyfriend will be joining on Christmas Eve, since, as per usual, he is also working non-stop. I am truly hoping work is a bit slower this week, as the last few weeks have really put a damper on my mood and will to live, receiving up to 300 emails a day, and requests for help all night, all morning and all weekend long. Like I am happy I was able to buy my family nice Christmas gifts this year with all of the overtime I’ve been racking up, and I am happy that I am not currently worrying about bills or increasing my credit card debt to buy gifts, but I would also like to enjoy my time with my family, and the rare day or evening I have off with my boyfriend, without my phone blowing up with requests for work or having to be glued to my laptop until 10PM (or later).

I’m not complaining though (I mean, I am…working a 55 hour week right before the holidays is pretty brutal). My last job was so slow, I am grateful that I work with a team who needs my help and appreciates it. It’s good to stay busy and the overtime pay has been very appreciated. I just wish there was some sort of balance in my life…. in every single aspect it’s all or nothing. I guess that’s kind of how I am in my personal life too though.

My boyfriend keeps asking me what I want for Christmas, and like the popular meme says, all I want is “a fucking break.” I don’t need any more material possessions at this point in my life (although an engagement ring wouldn’t hurt). I really just want to drown my phone and computer, before burying their remains in a shallow grave in the backyard, and then hightail it to some remote cabin in the mountains, with a hot tub and fireplace for a few days… and then never come back. That’s what I really want. Is this so much to ask for???

I think that working so much recently has made me act out in some sort of stress-induced, mid-life (oh God, am I already “mid-life”?!) crisis. First, I decided I needed to get fillers, because I honestly believe the stress of the last couple of years has taken a major toll on my face, and I am not about to let myself become haggard looking (yet). Then, and I believe this might be some sort of control issue (or a lack there of), I decided I needed to bleach my hair and go full-blown platinum. I think that with everything feeling so out of control in terms of the way the world is going (global warming, climate change, plastic pollution, wars, COVID, starvation, droughts, border conflicts, mass migrations, animals dying off in droves, etc.), and also not being able to shut my laptop and sign off at 5:30PM each night, when I am technically supposed to, has put me into an elevated sense of needing to control what I can – and that is my appearance.

I knew I wanted to treat myself to a professional color, since I’ve been putting that in the hands of E-Salon and my boyfriend for the past year and a half (yes, my boyfriend has done my color at home for the past 18 months). I also knew I wanted to go lighter, since my natural color was slightly lighter than the red I was using. I also have white hairs coming in hot and heavy near my temples (I’m also blaming this on the stress of the last two years). I was considering a lighter shade of strawberry blonde, but I’ve also been envying every woman I see walking by with platinum hair recently. No idea why. I decided on a spur of the moment after a consultation at Deluxe Hair Salon (which happens to specialize in blonde and platinum color), to take the dive and go for it. Fuck it.

Well, I had no idea that it would end up being an 8-hour process. I spent all day and half the night getting my hair bleached to hell and back. The stylist who did it is a professional, and did a good job, but I still woke up the next day with a few bleach burns on my scalp an looking like I was wearing a wig, since I was told not to wash my hair for a few days. The next day, I cried three times. I instantly regretted how much I paid for my hair to look the way that it did, and I was scared to tell my family what I had done. I’ve never EVER done anything like this before. I never got an extreme hair cut, hair color, or some sort of random piercing or tattoo growing up as a teenager or twenty-something, so it was totally out of character for me to just go bleaching the ever living shit out of my hair as a responsible 33 year old woman, and one who knows how damaging bleach is, at that.

Anyhow, I was filled with so much remorse the next day that I honestly felt suicidal. I kept telling myself that I had ruined my hair, which I may or may have not (only time will tell…). Making matters worse, it was a Sunday, which is the only day my boyfriend and I are usually off together, and he sprang it on me that he needed to go into work for a few hours for a private event. That’s when I really started losing it. There was no way I could be left home alone with my newly-bleached, wig-looking hair, to face my bad decision. After I started crying for the third time that day, he told me we were getting a “fucking Christmas tree”, after weeks of debating whether or not we should get one, and then despite my protests that it wasn’t worth it and the cats would destroy it. And so, we went to the world’s most ratchet Home Depot, where I heard a man at the door discussing buying an illegal pistol, and where we bought a small, balsam fir tree, a tree stand, and some multi-colored, incandescent lights (my Christmas tree lights of choice – those LED lights are abhorrent).

We were on our way back from Home Depot, Christmas tree in tow, and I was still feeling emo AF when he suggested a bloody Mary, which I had been craving since I woke up that morning. We couldn’t decide on a good spot to grab both food and a bloody Mary on our drive back from Home Depot, and ended up going to what I had always thought was a brunch place on Grand Street. The place that I had for years assumed served soul food and specialized in brunch, actually ended up being an Asian spot, that yep, you guessed it: didn’t make bloody Marys. I ended up with a lychee martini, instead: it was good for a lychee martini, but didn’t quite hit the spot. The food, however, ended up being amazing, and we will definitely be going back or ordering in for their dumplings and mac and cheese.

After lunch, my boyfriend left for work, and I set up the tree using the ornaments that I’ve been gifted over the last several years and stowing away for the day I actually set up my own tree. Thankfully the tree is small, and I had just the right amount of ornaments to decorate. As I was decorating, I started feeling slightly better about life. By the time I was done, and stood back to admire the tree, I was feeling like a weight had been lifted off of me. The glow and warmth of the lights, coupled with the scent of fresh balsam, wrapped me in a cocoon of peace and joy, as I thought of happy, childhood Christmases past. Nothing can bring me down, when there is a real, illuminated Christmas tree in my presence. My boyfriend did both of us a favor by forcing this tree on me. I love sitting by the tree in the morning as I drink my coffee, and also at night, as I watch some bullshit movie just to get tired, and the glow of tree covers me with as much comfort as the blanket does.

Knock on wood: both cats have been pretty respectful of the tree so far
This shot will definitely have to be on next year’s Christmas card
I bought a few, cheap ornaments from Target to add to the tree. This little A-Frame makes me wish I could shrink myself down and live here for a while.
After about 4 washes over the last two weeks, it’s finally looking more like human hair and less like a polyester wig from Beauty Supply on Graham Avenue

This is my hair now: I don’t hate it anymore – I kind feel like like it’s a nice aesthetic with my blue eyes and fair skin, but I definitely want to return to red once this is healthy enough to dye. At least I no longer feel suicidal over my decision, and after spending a small fortunate on special shampoos, masks and treatments, I feel confident that it won’t all just break off on me.

When you work 11 hour days and don’t get out for a walk, you do the next best thing and put on a bodysuit so you can flop around the living room floor in the name of exercise.
I’ve been enjoying my hair up more than down… I got a trim, but the ends still seem ratty AF and I don’t want to chop my hair off.
I need to start wearing all of the dresses I’ve been buying over the last two years. But I also don’t like most people and social scenes these days…..
Peeps also isn’t so sure about the new hair color
Christmas Tuna

I’m so thankful I got my ass into gear and did all of my Christmas shopping early this year. It would have been impossible these last two weeks… also, shipping times have been incredibly delayed and some of the gifts I ordered back in November only just arrived last week. I truly hope work will be slow enough that I can get out for walks this week. Since I am at my parents house for the next 6 days or so, I will be fighting the temptation to binge eat, which happens every time I am home for an extended period of time, and then I hate myself because I can’t comfortably fit into my jeans or wear the skanky sorts of clothes I prefer to wear out. I don’t know why I binge eat when I’m here… I think it is the availability of good foods I don’t keep at home because I have no self-control (Cape Cod style potato chips, salsa, bread, sliced cheese, Fritos, cookies etc.), coupled with boredom and then fueled by stress. I am going to try to enjoy these next few days as much as possible and not end up eating my feelings at 11PM. I really hope it snows before Christmas, although it’s looking highly unlikely at this point.

A Much Needed Vacation, New Beginnings, and Fish Chowder

As per the norm, it has been far too long since I wrote a blog (not that anyone gives a shit or looks forward to these blogs…). My vacation has come and gone, and it was honestly the best vacation I’ve ever had. I wish it had never ended and that I was still in Italy, but here I am – back in Brooklyn and back to work. On the upside, I came home to a new Job lined up, and which I have now been at for almost three weeks – so things are improving for me in that area of life.

It was so nice to be back in Venice and to see my boyfriend’s parents after three very long years, as well as his friends. It was also nice to be able to travel, after not being able to do so for over a year and a half as the result of COVID restrictions. It certainly was a hassle getting multiple COVID tests before flying out and again before flying home, making sure the carrying around our vaccine cards, negative test results, passports, and the additional documentation required (something akin to a “Green Pass”) in my purse at all times, but it was worth it.

Wishing I was still here…
The Grand Canal at night: so beautiful it seems like a fairy tale

While we were in Venice, the highlight (apart from seeing his parents and friends) was the cicheti and affordable wine. We went to town on both… how could you not?! I think the hardest thing since returning to the US, and more specifically returning to NYC, has been the memory of such affordable food and drink when a glass of wine here will set you back $15. We drank good-quality wine for 3 Euros a glass, and filled up our stomachs on delicious food for less than 10 euros a piece. It is a travesty that dining out or drinking in NYC will set you back over $100 on a night out.

First cicheti stop of the trip. This picture is from the first cicheti bar we went to the afternoon of the day we arrived, and it did not disappoint!
Wenice is another one of our favorite cicheti bars – the ambiance isn’t the greatest since there is limited seating, but the food cannot be beat. The Seppie al nero and seppie in umido (pictured to the left above) are out of this world.
Seppia on polenta squares at another of our favorites: SEPA. I think we must have gone to this bar 5 times over the course of our time in Venice.

I developed a bit of an obsession with seppia (cuttlefish) this time, if I wasn’t already slightly obsessed before, and I don’t just mean eating them. I bought a little cuttlefish (seppia) pin from SEPA, and, as Venice is known for the Murano glass, an adorable little glass seppia. I saw it in the window of a shop and just couldn’t resist!

My new seppie friends

As Venice is on the water, there is no shortage of seafood everywhere you go, which suits me well, since it is what I love to eat. There are cuttlefish dishes galore, mantis shrimp (which are different and more delectable than regular shrimp), prawns, fish, sardines, scallops, octopus, clams, etc. offered on every menu. It is food paradise for a seafood lover like myself.

This plate had a bit of everything and was so good that it cannot be put into words. The owner of this bar ^ is actually the son of the owner of another restaurant on Murano that Christian’s parents love, and which we went to for lunch one day.

The original plan was to spend the last four days of our trip in France: we were going to fly from Venice to Nice, rent a car, and drive to Paris over the course of three days. That was going to be one hell of a hassle, with days that would require 5-6 hours of driving in order to get us to the towns we wanted to visit and eventually put us in Paris the night before we flew home. We decided to nix this plan, and instead spend a couple of days in Tuscany. This made way more sense since we already had plans to visit a friend in Bologna. We changed the plane tickets to fly from Venice to Paris on the last day of our vacation, since we still needed to fly out of Paris.

My boyfriend’s parents were nice enough to let us borrow their car, and we drove to Bologna to visit our friend, before driving to the Chianti region of Tuscany for two nights. It was so good to see our friend in Bologna and catch up, even if it was only for one night. The hotel we had was amazing – a huge suite with a full kitchen and a huge bath tub in the bedroom. It is a shame that we didn’t spend more time in the hotel room, as we were out most of the night! After one night in Bologna, we set out for Chianti.

We are definitely going back to Giovanni’s place in Greve in Chianti – it is hands down the best Airbnb we have ever rented (and for the most affordable price too). This is the charcuterie board he bbrought us upon or arrival, together with the two bottles of Chianti that were produced from his vineyards!

We are now ruined for life after paying only $135 for a night at Giovanni’s agritourismo (farm/vineyard/lodging) in Greve in Chianti. I was expecting we would be staying in a small cottage, but the 300 year old stone house could have easily accommodated 10 more guests. There were four bedrooms, and three full bathrooms – I think my jaw dropped open when I walked in and saw the place…

We were on the upper level of this 300 year old stone building.
The view out of our kitchen window

Not only was the house itself amazing, but the property was situated on a hilltop, surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. There were only a handful of other guests, so it was super quiet and peaceful. Giovanni gave us a tour, the history of his vineyard and the property, and was beyond accommodating and gracious. He gave us recommendations for dinner as well as suggestions for how to spend our short stay in Tuscany.

The vineyard towards sunset
The pool, which overlooked the rolling hills and vineyards
Hot tub with a view!

I don’t think that I have ever felt as relaxed and at such peace as I did during my time in Tuscany. The land, the scenery and the local way of life are such that it is impossible not to live in the moment and to appreciate all that surrounds you, in terms of nature, beauty, and good food and wine. I am considering moving to Tuscany in the next couple of years, if I can save enough to buy a property. I have never felt so inspired to GTFO of NYC as I did while in Tuscany.

More sunset views

My only complaint about my time in Tuscany, is that there are no options for vegetarians or really even pescatarians. And if you happen to be a vegan? Fucking forget about it! When in Rome do as the Romans do, right? While in Tuscany, eat as the locals eat. I went TO FUCKING TOWN eating meat while I was in Tuscany. I mean, how could I not? I ate more meat in three days than I had eaten in the past three years while I was Tuscany. Popular dishes were bolognese, ragu, rabbit, wild boar, beef (and tartare… my favorite), pasta, pork, etc. There was nary a vegetable to be found on most menus, apart from ordering as a side dish. I ordered a salad one night as a side, hoping to get some fiber into my system, and the salad consisted of three leaves of lettuce, a pickled slice of pepper, one cherry tomato, and a smoked herring and huge piece of goat cheese. Needless to say, my digestive system was beyond fucked up after a few days of living on meat and carbs and wine. I was severely bloated and uncomfortable for the remainder of our trip.

The trattoria we ate at on our first night in Tuscany. This was located in a tiny, little hillside town. They had outdoor seating across the street, which is where we ate, and the food was incredible. I didn’t want to be the asshole American taking pics of their food, so we have no pictures from most of our dinners.

After our first night in Chianti, we did a short day-trip to Siena. I loved this little city, and the few hours we spent there were not nearly long enough. I definitely need to go back!

The main square where they do the Palio di Siena horse race each year (apart from the last two years, thanks to COVID – way to break 400 years of tradition…).
Sadly, we did such an abbreviated tour that I didn’t go into any of the museums or churches or even read up on them.

Siena is truly a beautiful and small medieval city. I absolutely must return, hopefully sooner than later.

A foodie’s dream… and also a meat-eater’s paradise! Was eating meat and breaking my practice of *mostly* avoiding it worth it? Hell yeah it was… even if I ended up unable to go to the bathroom and looked 10 months pregnant.
I think I had tartare three days in a row. This one from a small restaurant in Siena was by far the best out of all of them. It was so incredibly good…. that just seeing this picture and remembering it makes me want it right now.
Me, in my element on the streets of Siena.
We saw this little yellow Fiat coming and had to snap a picture. The guy driving even slowed down for me to take the pic! ha!

We originally planned to stay just one night in Tuscany, but while we were in Siena, we decided to book another Airbnb and stay a second night, as we were loving it all so much. The second Airbnb, while still cheap compared to American standards, was slightly more than the cost of our first one, and not nearly as nice. It was still beautiful – don’t get me wrong. I guess our standards were set too high by comparison of of Giovanni’s place! The second Airbnb was also an agritourismo (working farm – lodging situation), not too far from the first place. It was much more rustic, and a lot smaller of an apartment, but the views were (once again) breath-taking.

View from the second Airbnb in Chianti. The pool was lovely, but way too cold to actually swim in… not to mention all of the mosquitoes hanging out in the shrubs surrounding it! I got so many mosquito bites on this vacation….
Had to take a self in the bathroom of our first Airbnb… the lighting was too good not to. I also ended up living in this dress for the rest of the vacation after my time in Tuscany (wherein I gained 10 lbs of bloat in my stomach from my all-meat diet).

After our trip to Tuscany, we headed back to Venice for a few more days with my boyfriend’s parents. I finally visited the INSIDE of St. Marco’s cathedral. This was my fourth trip to Venice, and the first time I saw the inside of the cathedral, as opposed to just the outside. Needless to say, my mind was blown by the beauty, the history, and the age of the artifacts.

San Marco’s cathedral in San Marco (St. Mark’s) Square.
Inside the cathedral
These are the original bronze horses that adorned the outside of the cathedral. They were built in the 1st century BC… over 2000 years old. Isn’t that nuts?! Apparently, when they were new, they were so bright when the sun hit them that they blinded people who stared too long. They were scratched up intentionally to prevent the sun’s glare bouncing off of them!

As our last few days in Venice grew close to ending, we became sad at the prospect of returning back to NYC, but determined we needed to make the most of the time we had left. This included nightly walks and wine, more cicheti and dinner with my boyfriend’s parents.

Last cicheti crawl of our time in Venice. I will have to go back to this place – it was so SO good.
Also from our last day in Venice, the canal was a bit smelly, but very picturesque. haha

As always, it was very sad leaving Venice and leaving behind Christian’s parents. I hope we can go back early next year to visit. We flew to Paris the day before our flight back to the U.S., so we still had one night in Paris to look forward to, even though the post-vacation blues were settling in fast and we weren’t even done with our travels yet….

The sun coming up over the Laguna as we booked it in a water taxi to the airport. I think it was like 6:15AM…

When we arrived in Paris, we were exhausted from our early morning flight and general lack of sleep. I was also bloated AF and unable to go to the bathroom, which put me in a rather sour mood. I’m sorry if that is TMI, but my diet of wine, meat and not enough water or fiber truly had me fucked up. The hotel room in Paris was more than our Airbnb costs combined, and so tiny it was a joke. We put our stuff down, refreshed, and headed out for a full day and abbreviated tour of the city.

I had seen the Eiffel Tower the last time I was in Paris (also a 24 hour stay), but I did not go up. This time, we climbed the stairs to the second level! The views were incredible and it was great exercise, to say the least.
View from the second level

Paris is a beautiful city, but it is huge and clearly impossible to thoroughly explore in such a short time frame. Prior to our flight from Venice to Paris, we were on the fence about how to spend our very short time there. We did the Louvre last time (which takes up a full day). Versailles is on my list of things to see, but unfortunately that would have required a FULL day. I also considered the catacombs, and dancing on Jim Morrison’s grave. I think next time I’ll have to dance on Jim Morrison’s grave….

After our second abbreviated tour of Paris, I decided I much prefer Venice, although as my boyfriend kept pointing out, they’re two totally different cities and vibes and therefore cannot really be compared to each other.

Naturally we were both miserable to return to disgusting NYC and our even more disgusting Brooklyn neighborhood. I also returned to a life in which I am still helping the two street cats I rescued back in May. Somehow I am still involved fundraising and bringing them to vet appointments. The end does seem to be in sight, however. Gracie (the more feral cat that went to live with her feeder), is going for her dental extractions next Wednesday. Naturally, I somehow find myself (once again) responsible for catching her from under the bed at her home, taking her to and from the upcoming appointment, and for raising the funds to cover the appointment. All of this after I threw down my own cash and time for the vet appointment I brought her to this past Saturday.

Honestly, I cannot wait until she is done with this appointment. I hope that not only will she feel much better, but maybe she will become friendlier and happier in general. I’m also hoping that this is the last I will ever have to be involved with either cat.

If anyone reading this has it in their heart (and pocket) to kindly donate $10 or $20 to her upcoming appointment, it would be BEYOND appreciated, and you will go on my list of real-life heroes. Below is a link to her GoFundMe:

DONATE TO GRACIE’S DENTAL:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-gracie-get-a-dental

I did have a couple of great things to keep me motivated and to look forward to after returning from my vacation. Apart from my new job, which has been great so far, I went home the first weekend of October to attend my Aunt and Uncle’s annual “family picnic.” It is always so nice to see my family – at the end of the day, I always know my family has my back and wants what is best for me. I am thankful that I am so close with my family…. they are not perfect (who’s family is???), but they are supportive and they love me (I think…), and sometimes in this crazy fucked up world, their love and support is what I need to feel OK when shit hits the fan in other aspects of my life.

Anyhow, I digress. Here are some pics of my aunt and uncle’s cozy cottage on the Susquehanna river, and shots from the BBQ.

Would it be a blog if I didn’t throw in some selfies? It would be, but not my blog. Here you go:

vintage shirt stolen from my boyfriend (ex?)
This was taken before vacation. I was really feeling good about myself. I wish I felt this good every day….but then it would be all over for you bitches (JK)
My dad sent some haddock home with me last time I was home, so I made this awesome chowder.

FISH CHOWDER

I’m too sad to write this recipe right now, so I’ll have to get back you in my next blog. Stay tuned.

Vegetarian Polpette and Vacation Plans (that had Better Not be Cancelled)

I probably start most blogs off by saying this, but HOLY SHIZZLE – can you believe it’s already mid-August?! I can’t… wasn’t it just February?!? I swear, time flies when you spend every day working just to pay rent and bills.

My dad is turning 70 next week, but we will all have to celebrate next month, since my parents leave for their vacation that day. I’m really happy they’re going on a vacation – they deserve one. We all do at this point. I am going to see Korn on Tuesday, so that’s also something to look forward to. I’ve only been waiting for this concert ALL summer. The last band I saw before the pandemic was Korn in August 2019, and they’ll be the first band I see… well – I guess the pandemic is still happening so I can’t say “after the pandemic.”

Speaking of which, we are finally going on a well-deserved and much needed vacation in just three, short weeks. We will finally be able to visit my BF’s parents for the first time in forever, and will be traveling to Venice on September 5th. We are then flying to Nice on the 15th, renting a car, and road-tripping to Paris. I have literally been living, I repeat: LIVING, for this trip. We booked for September thinking that things (the pandemic, COVID, vaccination rates) would only continue to improve over the summer. Now that Delta variant has reared its ugly head, I must admit that I fear the worst – foiled travel plans, another lock-down in Italy, curfews, restrictions, etc.

I swear to God, I will swim the Atlantic if I have to. In the event that our vacation plans are ruined or put on hold YET AGAIN, I will likely want to die anyhow, so I’ll just take my chances of swimming across the ocean and being eaten by sharks or drowning; which ever comes first. Fuck it. What will I have to live for if this trip doesn’t happen next month?! My cats and my family, I guess. But I will be one miserable bitch. And yes, this is my jealous side showing itself, but after everyone else I know took their vacations this summer and was able to travel, if my plans get fucked-over after everyone else had a break, I will be pissed. Let’s hope it doesn’t come down to this. I have a lot to be thankful for, I know this. But at the same time, I haven’t been to the beach, a pool, or a weekend away once this summer (*weekends spent at my parents’ house don’t count). I haven’t worn a swimsuit once, and I haven’t been in a hot tub since last Fall. I’ve just been working non-stop and walking 5 miles daily to feed my sister’s cat for the last three weeks; I’ve had only one day a week off with my boyfriend (sometimes not even that…) since last Spring – he probably needs this vacation way more than I do. I’ve been mentally checked out for the last three months… call it ‘burnout’, call it ‘not giving a fuck’ – I just really need to get away.

I’ve been busy trying to figure out how I will get the required PCR test with results back in the 48 hours before I board the Alitalia plane for Venice. In addition to requiring vaccination to travel to Italy, we need to present negative PCR test results. I also have to drop off my cats at Misty Ridge Cat Lodge upstate. I think I’m going to get tested early Friday morning, and then I’ll drive my cats to my parents’ house and drop them off on Saturday and then take public transit back to NYC. Everyone is worried about me driving home – I relinquished my car back in 2012 when I moved to NYC and my boyfriend has only owned stick-shift vehicles up until this year, so I am very out of practice. I’m basically like Mr. Magoo behind the wheel. I think it’s my vision, honestly…. I mean I’m not the worst driver, but I do suck. Driving isn’t my strength. It’s going to be stressful and exhausting to swing it all, doing all of that rushing around and traveling before our flight on Sunday, but I will reward myself with copious amounts of vino and cicchetti upon arrival in Venice.

I’ve been daydreaming of drinking wine in a vineyard in Provence, doing a cicchetti/wine crawl in Venice, visiting a friend in Bologna, and seeing the south of France. Naturally this daydreaming involves fantasies of all the outfits I will wear. I hope I actually wear all of the dresses I’ve purchased specifically for this trip… I feel like I over-pack and then end up in the same pair of jeans every time I go away. Let’s face it – it’s more practical to wear jeans when you’re being a tourist and walking 6 miles a day.

My sister has this dress in grey, and it looked so good on her that I had to buy one of myself! It was like $30 on Amazon.. I hate that I supported Amazon with this purchase, but I truly love this dress. It will be perfect for dinners out. I still can’t decide if it gives off fairytale princess vibes, or Manson family recruit.
Not sure if this will get worn on vacation… but surely to a party (IF I ever party again…). If anything comes in the way of our travel plans/vacation, I’m going to treat myself and go on a week-long bender.
It’s a romper, which I LOVE – I feel like it just allows more freedom and less worry about the wind blowing it up and exposing my cheeks. I think that’s part of the reason I rarely wear dresses – I love them, but hate feeling like I need to constantly be aware that nothing is getting exposed when I bend over, etc. I also love that it’s a halter and backless – super flattering!

Now I’m just waiting on a new pair of Superga platform sneakers to arrive for my trip. I have been averaging about 37 miles a week (walking) these past two months, and I burn through sneakers like crazy. I hate it – it makes me feel very wasteful, but I literally run them into the ground. Having a go in the washer isn’t going to save them when they have holes burned through the rubber soles, you know what I mean? I got a nice discount on Superga’s website since I signed up for emails though… so I don’t fee terrible about what I spent.

I think our balcony garden peaked earlier this month – we harvested the large eggplants, the Japanese eggplants, four peppers, and the cherry tomato plant was producing about 8-10 ripe tomatoes a day. It’s just been so ungodly hot, that now the plans are kind of fried, despite watering them. There are still a lot of green Roma tomatoes though that should be ripe in another couple of weeks, and the basil is still growing like crazy. Last year we were lucky enough to still have cherry tomatoes ripening into late October! Global warming, am I right? (don’t even get me started on global warming…. it’s been one of my biggest sources of anxiety lately).

The cherry tomato plant is a winner again this year… if I ever have a yard/proper garden, I’ll definitely plant a lot of these.
Our lone pepper plant produced about 4 bell peppers!
We got two, medium-sized eggplants off of this plant. There are a couple more little ones – let’s see if they keep growing though. This heat has been devastating…
So many cherry tomatoes! We did manage to grow a few very tasty San Marzano’s, however, a lot of them had a weird brown/rotted tip and were inedible… such a disappointment

It’s been extremely hot here in NYC, so I’ve mostly been sticking to meals that do not involve the oven or multiple burners going at once. I did make some awesome polpette a couple of weeks ago (I dare say, the best batch I’ve ever made), using Field Roast vegetarian sausage. If you’re curious as to exactly what polpette are, and how they differ from regular meatballs, you can read all about it in this post from 2019. The recipe in the past post also uses real meat, if that is your jam.

These were literally so good I couldn’t stop eating them…. and it shows. I wanted to upload a cross-section of the polpette, but I’m not very technology savvy and therefore cannot figure it out… sorry.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 Idaho potatoes (these will be cut up, boiled, mashed and seasoned)
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 4 Field Roast brand “sausages” (I prefer the Italian Garlic and Fennel ones)
  • 2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano
  • 1/2 cup finely diced white or yellow onion
  • 3 brown eggs from free range chickens (1 egg goes into the Polpette mixture and otthe other two eggs are whisked and use for breading purposes)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsely
  • 2 Tbsp freshly chopped basil
  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil (for frying)
  • 1 jar quality marinara sauce for dipping (Rao’s marinara is perfect)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Use the potatoes to make mashed potatoes (cut into large chunks, and boil in salted water until penetrable with the tines of a fork… usually 15-20 min)
  • Drain the potatoes, reserving 1/3 cup of the potato water to be mashed with the potatoes
  • Go ahead and season the potatoes as you normally would – I prefer a generous amount of vegan butter, salt, granulated garlic and pepper. Mash away! Once mashed, set aside.
  • Finely dice 1/2 of a yellow or white onion
  • In a medium saucepan, heat 3 Tbs. of olive oil on low heat and add in the onions
  • Chop the sausages into a rough/crumble consistency and add the crubmles into the saucepan with the onions. Cook over low-medium heat for 3-4 minutes and spoon mixture into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add in about 1/2 of the mashed potatoes (the other half can be eaten as is, or used in another recipe)
  • Add in 1 egg, the seasonings (granulated garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper, the chopped parsley and fresh basil), 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • Thoroughly mix everything together using your hands, and roll into meaball-sized balls (*you may need to add more breadcrumbs depending on the consistency)
  • Set the balls aside and prep your breading station:
  • Whisk 2 eggs together in a bowl
  • In another bowl, add in the remaining breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, 1 tsp. of granulated garlic, and some dried oregano and mix together
  • In a large saucepan, heat 1/3 cup olive oil over low-medium heat
  • Take each ball, dip into the egg mixture and then gently roll/coat in the breadcrumb mixture and add into frying pan
  • You’ll want to gently turn the balls every 1-2 minutes so all sides achieve the same, even golden-brown color
  • Each ball will probably need a fry time of around 6 minutes or so, just remember to keep track of which balls have just gone into the pan, and which ones are finishing up and need to come out of the pan (assuming that your pan will not be big enough to fry all the balls at once)
  • Heat up the marinara sauce in a separate saucepan and serve on the side of the polpette once warm. Garnish the polpette with fresh basil or parsley and a sprinkle of grated Parm! Enjoy 🙂

Now I want to make polpette… perhaps that will be my Friday night excitement. Here are a couple of pics from a walk I took last week – the sunset was beautiful. I kind of wish I had made it to my boyfriend’s venue prior to sunset, since I would have had an even better view from a skyscraper!

Lower east side, Rivington Street. I wish the to-go-drinks were still legal, because I really wanted to stop by Verlaine for a cheap lychee martini….
crossing Houston

My Summer of Love – the Real Story

I’m a regular reader of the Guardian, and a couple of weeks ago I happened to come across a call for readers to submit stories about “their summer of love” romances. I was bored at work with time to kill, and I had just celebrated eight years with my boyfriend and felt compelled to submit my own story about the summer of 2013.

I thoroughly enjoyed typing out the full story about my wild summer of 2013 and was really excited when I finally hit the ‘submit’ button, although I instantly regretted not having saved what I wrote, since I entered the text directly on the Guardian’s website. I texted my boyfriend to let him know I submitted the story of how we met and that I would die if they actually published it.

The full story was probably about three pages long when all was said and done, with all of the scandalous details and humor that make for good reading. I was very proud of the piece that I entered and also felt nostalgic with the sweet memories fresh in my brain.

About two weeks went by, which was just enough time for me to have forgotten that I submitted the story, when I woke up this past Monday morning to an email an editor at the Guardian. I was so stoked that even though it was 7:30am, I woke up my boyfriend, whom was sleeping next to me, to tell him the good news. The editor stated they would need to edit my piece to be shorter in length, and THIS IS WHAT THEY ENDED UP PUBLISHING.

Don’t get me wrong – Its really cool to have my little story and our picture on my favorite news site…it’s actually fucking awesome. But the integrity of the original story was stripped since they had to edit out the bulk of the story itself. They basically just summarized the larger story I originally entered, and added sentences that were not even there to begin with. Like honestly, do you think I would ever use the phrase “…my heart fluttered”? I’m not mad, just disappointed I guess, because the little ditty that was posted sounds corny as hell. Here is the real story of my ‘summer of love’:

MY SUMMER OF LOVE

Before we get to the summer of 2013, I have to provide a bit of background. I moved to NYC in Fall 2012 as a hopeful 24-year old with big dreams. I had saved enough money working as a manager at Hollister and living at home for the past two years, that I didn’t need to have a job lined up before I moved to the city. I planned to pursue writing and/or work in theatre (which I did do, to some extent), but after a couple of months, my savings was running low and I needed an actual job to pay rent. During this time, my college romance of almost 3-years was on it’s last legs. We had been doing long-distance for the better part of the three years we’d been together, and moving to the city was a new start for me.

One of my sister’s friends hooked me up with a job at Highline Ballroom (a now-defunct, mid-sized, concert venue/late-night club on weekends) since she was friends with the owner. I was hired as a server, and my first shift was in early December 2012. I was nervous as fuck – I’d never been a server before, and I certainly didn’t go out to clubs back then. I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into my first shift, dressed in the requisite ‘all black’ outfit that I’d just purchased earlier that day at Forever 21. One of the first people I met was the manager, who helped me with my paper work and showed me around the venue. Immediately off the bat, I found him (and his Italian accent) incredibly attractive, and I probably became nervously shy as I didn’t want to look like an idiot – doing or saying the wrong thing – in front of someone I found hot.

As the days at working at Highline turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, I gradually warmed up to some of the servers I worked with and even came to enjoy certain aspects of working as a server. It was really cool to get to see some of the better bands that were booked play free of charge, as I waited tables. Some highlights were once serving Jack White a Stella, and a show I worked where Zedd (who was just beginning his career, and who I am also convinced was high on E at the time) told me I have beautiful eyes. I also always enjoyed doing hospitality for the bands, because that usually meant left over booze after they’d cleared the greenroom at the end of the night.

It was a fun job at times, or at least the kind of job where you and your coworkers have fun together, as you commiserate about how shitty the job can be and support one another through all of the personal struggles everyone brings to work each day. All of us servers were around the same age, and this was a temporary job as we pursued various other passions – music, makeup, acting, etc. Someone was always crying in the ladies room pre-shift, or having a break down in the back hallway by the lockers. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

As the job wore on, it also became evident, that it wasn’t going to be enough to cover my rent and bills. There were some weeks with 3 or 4 dark days (this means no shows scheduled and therefore the venue is closed) and I’d only have two shifts that week. Some concerts (seated jazz shows, for example) I could make bank in tips ($250 a night was a good night for me… I know some servers reading this right now will scoff at this, but for me, that was a great night). Other shows (hip-hop, standing-room-only shows, for example), were absolutely atrocious to work, and I might walk away with only $25 in cash tips. Please keep in mind that I was also only making an hourly rate of $5. Yes – you read that right: $5….

On the shitty nights, when we’d all busted our asses and chased after tables who tried to leave without paying, only to make $30 in cash tips, we (the servers and a couple of bartenders and bar-backs) would all go out to one of two local watering holes on 14th Street: McKenna’s, where they had a great buy-1-get-1 special until midnight, or Woody’s. What else are you going to do with $30 in tips? In NYC, that is basically enough to buy maybe two days worth of groceries, but after such a rough night at work, buying a few rounds of drinks so you could forget how shitty your life was for a while, was a much higher priority.

Early on during these group outings, I remember trying to casually get more information on the hot manager. “Do you know if he’s single?” I’d casually ask one of the servers who had been working there longer than me. The response, or general consensus rather, was that he was most likely hooking up with one of the bartenders (** he denies to this day that there were never anything other than friends, to which I still say “Sure, Jan”***). Anyhow, this was not the response I was looking for, but then again I was still in a relationship myself, at the time. My sister’s friend, who had set me up with job, also inquired if there were any hot guys I worked with. I told her “not really, apart from one of my managers.” She had worked for the company at one of their other venues before having a baby, so I asked if she knew who the Italian manager at Highline was. Unfortunately, she’d left a few months before he’d started, so she had no idea. It seemed impossible to get the information I was looking for…. I needed to know more about this man!

By late winter of 2013, I had broken up with my ex-boyfriend for good, started fostering two feral cats (yes, they were legit feral and one hid under my bed all day), and I was officially struggling to make ends meet on my shitty server’s salary. I was literally going hungry, because I didn’t have enough money to pay rent and buy groceries, so I became pretty emaciated living on a bag of frozen peas and some rice one week, and a loaf of Wonder bread the next. It’s comical now to look back on, but there was nothing funny about only having enough cash to buy either coffee creamer or a roll of paper towels because I couldn’t afford both. I already had to call my parents a few times to help me with rent, and I couldn’t bring myself to tell them I also didn’t have enough money for groceries either, so I just made due with what little I had.

It was around this time that I started having brief conversations with the hot manager as I lit candles during pre-shift, or, if there was a lull in work while the concert was in full-throttle, we would chat in the service station at the end of the bar. How I cherished these brief interactions! I would replay them in my head long after the fact, wondering what he thought of me, or if he might find me attractive as well. He asked me about my writing and the blog I kept at the time, he asked me what I felt about the Lesbian slam poet we had performing one night – he generally seemed to take an interest in what I thought and felt, and I really appreciated that. He would later admit that he read my blog from start to finish, going back several years in entries, because he wanted to know more about me and my life. At the time, I didn’t think he’d ever like a girl like me… short, quiet, nerdy, not exactly a ‘cool’ girl, and certainly someone who never went to clubs or parties (back then, at least….).

How could he? He worked in nightlife where he was surrounded by hot women – whether it was the bottle servers who were signed with modeling agencies, or the burlesque dancer who performed in nothing more than sequin pasties and a G-string during late nights. Never in a million years, did I think that he would like me when I physically compared myself to the other girls working there. But this was just my 25-year old lack of self-esteem getting the best of me. Self-doubt is a real bitch.

I was absolutely elated one night, when he asked me if I’d like to start hostessing during the late-night parties, in addition to serving during regular shows. I definitely needed more money, and it would be a chance to wear a sexy dress and heels instead of the regular black jeans and boots I wore while serving, and fucking loathed. He later confessed he asked me work late-night because he wanted to get to know me better and spend more time with me, but back then I was convinced he knew I was poor and just felt sorry for me.

Keep in mind that through all of this time, I was still convinced I had no chance with him. Also keep in mind that I was newly single, and finally making up for lost time. My last relationship had also been my first, and I’d never had the opportunity to be single in such a big city with so many hot men. I’d also never really been on proper dates, since my ex boyfriend and I met as two broke college students . NYC was my oyster for a few months, and I was living it up. Until the dating scene got the best of me and chewed me up only to spit me out again.

It was really easy to meet people as a single woman, working in a concert venue/nightclub, and I threw myself into the dating scene. But I quickly learned, that many New York men are dickbags, and became disillusioned with the whole scene just as quickly as I had initially been intoxicated by it. I got pissed when a guy I was casually dating didn’t text for almost an entire weekend when he went to a friend’s wedding with a date who was really pretty (I stalked that bitch on Facebook and my heart fell thinking of them hooking up). There was the hot Israeli musician who did sound check at the concert venue, who took me out for drinks and bragged about all the hot models he’d banged at the Day & Night brunch parties. That left a bad taste in my mouth. There was the the shaggy, blonde-haired French guy that I went on several dates with who just disappeared into thin air after I was unable to see him one night. That one almost destroyed me for some reason….

I think a lot of the turmoil and angst also had to do with how depressing my life was for a while there. I lived alone with two foster cats that wouldn’t even let me pet them. I barely made enough money to pay rent and feed myself and was shelling out what little cash I did have on expensive food for the two foster cats who both had digestive issues (explosive, insanely smelly diarrhea). I would come home from working at the club to an empty apartment at 2 a.m. and often cry because of how stressed I was over money and how lonely I felt at night. The one constant I did have to look forward to each week, was getting dressed up to work as a hostess and see the hot manager, even if it was only as we stood next to each other at the podium in the lobby of the venue chatting.

Towards the end of Spring 2013, Christian (yes, he has a name) would often ask me if I’d like to grab a drink at the end of my shift, once I was cut for the night and before taking a cab back home to Brooklyn. I remember this literally being a magical experience (even though we’d basically be screaming into each other’s ears to have any sort of conversation over the insanely loud club music) as we stood at bar-left and each had a gin and tonic or glass of Prosseco. I remember one particular evening, a remix of Lana del Rey’s ‘Summertime Sadness’ blasting, as confetti dropped from the rafters, and drunk club-goers squeezed around and in back of us passing by. That’s when it really hit me – I had butterflies in my stomach and a major crush on this man.

He would later admit that just as I thought I had no chance with him, he also thought he had absolutely no chance with me. We both had crushes on each other from day one but both thought it would never happen for whatever reasons we told our selves. A couple of weeks after this magical moment at bar-left, he finally asked me out on a date – well, at least it kind of sounded like a date?! It was a bit unclear, since he told me I could bring a friend or even two friends. I remember we were standing at bar-right during pre-shift when he casually asked if I’d like to go on a sailboat tour of New York Harbor, and then added that I was welcome to bring a friend. I was quite confused in that moment – did he want or expect me to bring a friend? Maybe he only wanted to be friends with me and that’s why he suggested that I bring a third party? I said ‘yes’ to the boat trip right on the spot, and then pondered as to whom I could drag along, if anyone. After thinking it over for a day, I decided that this was MY chance to make a move, and determined I would bring no one – I wanted him to myself.

The night before our first date, happened to be the 4th of July, and we both happened to be working at a Verboten party (a rave, for those who are un-familar) that the venue had booked. Now, this particular event happened to go from about 10pm to 6am, and every patron is either rolling balls on MDMA or drinking their ass off. It is already a really difficult party to work if you’re into this type of music and scene, since you cannot partake in the fun and games. It is also extra hard working events or parties that fall on national holidays – it seems like everyone but you is out celebrating and having a good time and you start to feel really sorry for yourself.

As the night wore on, I guess several of the other servers and bartenders were also feeling sorry for themselves for having to work on this particular night, because several rounds of shots and/or drinks made their way from behind the bar to service station at the end of the bar for us to knock back on the sly. By the time the lights came up and the patrons had left, I was pretty fucking buzzed…or drunk, rather. I had to keep it together enough to do my receipts and tips checkout with Christian, before taking a $25 cab back to Brooklyn, as the sun was coming up and it was already hotter than the hubs of Hell. I remember I ordered a burger from Bad Burger, a 24/7 burger joint in Williamsburg, because I was drunk and starving after a long night of working. I got home, devoured half of my burger, threw the other half on the floor for my foster cats to enjoy, and passed out, fully-clothed and with my makeup still on, on my couch.

I woke up at high-noon, my mouth as parched as the Sahara and reeking of Jameson and Fireball. I was pretty fucking hungover, and all I could think about was how sloppy I’d been the night before. I prayed my manager would still even want to take me out on a date, and knew I had to redeem myself by looking extra good. I remember enlisting the help of my fashion-savvy sister to help me pick out the perfect date ensemble that afternoon: I wore a strapless, navy blue bodysuit and seersucker shorts from American Apparel, and a cool pair of wedges my sister loaned me.

I called both my mom and my cousin as I walked from the subway at 14th street to the Gansevoort Hotel, where I was meeting Christian. I confessed to my mom that I was going on a date with my older manager, but swore up and down that I was not going to so much as kiss him, lest things turn awkward at work. I believe I also told my cousin the same thing… I’m not sure who I was really trying to convince though: them, or myself…

The date went down in history as the most perfect date of all time. We had a gin and tonic each on the rooftop of the Gansevoort hotel, than took a chartered sunset sail around New York Harbor, during which Prosecco was freely doled out by the staff. When the boat docked again around 9:30pm, we were the last ones off the boat and pretty tipsy. We took a cab across town to a wine bar, where we had a charcuterie and cheese board and wine, then after that, we took another cab downtown to a second wine bar, Another Room. It was here that we started discussing painting, friended each other on Facebook, kissed for the first time, and Christian told me that he was a painter himself. He asked if I’d like to go see some of his artwork, at his apartment, which conveniently happened to be a short, three minute walk from this wine bar. Now that is clever planning!

I was on a roll myself now – high on adrenaline, wine and those butterflies in my stomach. The last few months of dating had been so shitty and had broken me down so much, that I really felt I had nothing more to lose at this point. I felt liberated! ‘Fuck it,’ I thought to myself. Whatever happens, happens. And so I went over to his apartment (to see his paintings, of course) and then I spent the night.

Because nothing in my life ever goes smoothly, because I never seem to have any actual down time, and because I am a glutton for punishment, I awoke in his bed to an 8 a.m. phone call from my sister, wondering when I was coming over to help set up for my niece’s first birthday party. We got up, he hailed me a cab, and I hightailed it back to Brooklyn, where I was gainfully employed running errands in the all-ready-86-degree weather. I was slightly hungover and had my baby niece in tow, booking it down Bedford Avenue, pushing my niece in the stroller, with a shit load of helium balloons trailing behind us, as I secreted red wine from my pores and still felt high on happiness from last night. I was elated when he texted me later that day to say he had an amazing time and couldn’t wait to see me at work later that night (yes, we both worked another party that same night).

It’s hard to believe that eight years have gone by since this particular summer. Like all couples, we have had our fair share of ups and downs. Lots of water has passed under the bridge over the course of eight years – there have been some pretty heated fights, a near constant level of insanity on both parties’ behalf, a lot of love, some general hate thrown in for good measure, a ton of fun and memorable moments, the stresses of daily life and work, and a lot of personal growth for the both of us. Eight years seems like a century sometimes – I mean it has been most of my adult life. But it also seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye. It’s crazy to think that fate brought us together in that shitty fucking venue, and even crazier to think that the feelings of attraction were mutual at first sight on the day we met back in December 2012. Every time I hear a song from the summer of 2013, whether it’s Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’ or Lana del Rey’s ‘Summertime Saddness,’ I am immediately transported back to bar left, sipping on my gin and tonic, screaming over the music to be heard, and falling in love all over again.

Time is Flying: Dinner Ideas for Hot as H*ll Summer Nights

It’s already the middle of July, and Summer is half over. The Korn concert I’ve been looking forward to is a month away, and our vacation to Italy and France is less than two months away. Time really flies by when your sights are set on the future and you forget to live in the present. Although it is sometimes difficult to live in the present when every day is the same as the last, and you spend the majority of your time working, running the household, and making plans for a much more exciting and enticing future event. It always seems that the fun things you have planned will never come to fruition when you’re in the thick of it – slaving away at a job that barely makes ends meet, running the daily gamut of errands, chores, housework, and daily activities that are anything but relaxing or fun. Alas, one day you blink your eye and an entire month has passed and the thing you looked forward to for what seems like forever, is happening in three days! That is always how it goes.

Speaking of time flying by, my niece just turned nine last week, my dad is turning 70 next month, and I am officially looking like a middle-aged adult at the age of 33. It’s funny (no, it’s really not…), but I feel like I woke up one day just looking old. They say that you’re as young as you feel – I feel like I should still look 26 in that case. I don’t know if it was the stress from 2020 or what it was, but I used to look young for my age, and now I am convinced I look five years older than I actually am… and it really seems to have happened overnight. All I can keep thinking of is the Hemingway quote from The Sun Also Rises, in regards to my rapidly aged appearance: “gradually, then suddenly.” In the book, that line is in response to someone asking the character how he went bankrupt, and his answer is “gradually, then suddenly.” However, this line is eerily spot-on when it comes to how I’ve ended up here – looking old overnight, with fine lines that seemingly came out of nowhere. How did I go from looking younger than my age to how I look right now? I’ll tell you how: gradually, then suddenly.

Sure, there were subtle signs here and there that I was getting older over the last 10 years or so. My skin texture changed and became rougher, I lost some baby fat in my cheeks, I don’t look so hot waking up the morning after a night of drinking or no sleep anymore, unlike my early twenties when I looked just fine the next day. Then, before I knew it, suddenly the fat pads under my eyes seemed to all but hollow out (now, when I smile, I get huge bags under my eyes that make me look like my 73 year old uncle), my forehead suddenly has horizontal lines that don’t go away, even when my face is relaxed, I’m losing volume in my lips and cheeks, and I just kind of always look tired (even on the RARE occasion when I actually got a full 8 hours of sleep…).

I’m not trying to complain (even though it is most definitely coming across that way right now). I generally like the way I look, but fucking shit! I feel like I went from looking 27 to looking 36 in a year’s time. Things have gotten so bad, that I have vowed to quit drinking and partying altogether in order to save up for botox and a laser treatment. I am not even joking – it makes way more sense to stop squandering money I already don’t have on shit that makes my life worse off in the long run. Every time I want to buy wine, go out for cocktails, or spend a night at a rave abusing my body with mind-altering substances, I am going to take that $50 or $100 or $200 that I would normally blow on crap, and put it into a savings jar for future cosmetic procedures. I probably should have started doing this two years ago…

I have also vowed to start exfoliating every day, which up until this week when I decided I want botox, was not something I did regularly. It will be way easier to complete step 2 (exfoliating), since I will also being doing step 1 (abstaining from alcohol), which as we all know, makes a person very lazy when it comes to nightly skin care routines.

It’s been really hard to save money lately, not only because I live in NYC and a large chunk of my salary goes towards monthly rent and the cost of living, but because I feel like every month there is a birthday, holiday, etc. that I end up spending what would otherwise be my discretionary income on. Seriously – I feel like I rarely spend money on myself, and when I do, it’s Forever21 clothes because that is the only thing I can financially justify. I feel like I’m always spending money that could be put into my savings on family member’s birthday’s, dinners out to celebrate said family member’s birthdays, my cats’ expensive prescription food, or the occasional night where I actually go out and be social (which is maybe twice a month, but I always go all out, since I don’t go out often and probably feel the need to make up for lost time). It sucks – I need more money. Plain and simple. At this rate, I’ll never be able to save for a house or a move across the Atlantic. I can’t even save for a fucking botox consultation at this rate!

I kind of feel like I went a bit overboard in my last entry on here. I was feeling pretty feisty when I wrote it, after a 45 hour work week and a bunch of other factors that contributed to my higher-than usual stress level. I hope no one reading this was offended (I don’t know why anyone would be, but you never know). I feel bad I bitched about the endless saga of the stray cats I helped rescue and get off the streets. Things have finally calmed down. I actually fed one of the cats while her owner was away for the weekend (that’s the more feral of the two, that was adopted by their long-time feeder). And, thankfully, the older cat (who currently has a foster mom) is doing much, MUCH better. She uses her litter box like pro now, and finally has been granted free reign of the apartment, as she is getting along better with the other resident-foster cat, and stopped trying to climb walls and windows!

I’m sure everyone reading this will understand how stressful life can get at times, since it gets that way for all of us, but it always seems to be that one last straw that breaks the camel’s back. I was just barely holding my shit together, working a crazy work week, NOT getting out for exercise or fresh air (which is even more important for me to do during a crazy work week), and feeling sorry for myself because everyone I am close to hasn’t worked for the past year and a half and they all get to go to the beach and take naps during the weekdays, while I’m stuck in front of my laptop. I was also feeling sorry for myself, because my boyfriend and I are like two ships passing in the night. We don’t have weekends together, evenings together (we eat our dinners alone, at separate times), we rarely have holidays together, his job keeps him from attending every family get-together and birthday I celebrate with my family upstate, and we have opposite schedules so we are both always tired – him because he works 12 hour days, 6 days a week, and me, because I either wait up until midnight each night so I can see him for an hour before falling asleep, or because my sleep is interrupted when he gets home from work at 2am and I’m already asleep on the couch. Now that I’m writing this, this is probably why I’ve been looking so old lately… stress and lack of fucking sleep.

I also started feeling sorry for myself, because everyone else I know seems to be getting married, buying a house, or having a baby (not that I want a baby, but still….) and humble-bragging about it on Instagram. This, in turn, led to feelings of being fucked over, because everyone else gets to have a shower thrown for them when they complete these “life milestones.” Since I’ve never completed any of these so-called “milestones”, I’m always the one buying the gift for said shower, and never the one BEING showered. I know that sounds petty, but it kind of sucks sometimes. When will it be MY turn to have people throw a party for me? When will it be my turn to create a registry and get a bunch of fucking gifts for my house, just because someone finally put a ring on my finger? I don’t know. But between 45 hours of working at a job that does not fulfill me, just to make ends meet, seeing another smug couple humble-bragging about buying a home or spending a weekend away together on social media, while I never having a single fucking weekend off with my boyfriend, and then receiving texts containing sad and upsetting news about the cats I gave my all to help, really put me over the edge. It’s OK though; I’m back on track now. I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself when I am in an able body, of sound mind (…. that’s actually debatable), in good health (as far as I know), I’m smart, funny, and I’m capable. Everything else is just crumbs.

You wanna’ know how I got these bruises? (said in manner of the Joker)… honestly? I don’t even know, but I haven’t consumed alcohol in over a week, so they certainly weren’t from getting sloppy drunk.

Speaking of being back on track, I’m also back in the office a few days a week. Yes, I know I said I would have a new job or end my life before I ended up back in the office, but here I am. There just wasn’t enough time to find something better, and I have things to live for – my new goal is a new job when I come back from my vacation in September. Bring back in the office hasn’t been bad so far, but then again, it’s only been two weeks, and a lot of people are still out, which means I don’t have to see them. It is nice to have a reason to get my ass up and into gear so early in the morning. Because I hate taking the subway so much, I’ve also motivated myself into walking to work. It’s really hard to do since it means getting up and out of my apartment much earlier, when I could just sleep an extra hour… but it’s worth it. It’s also nice getting my exercise in before the work day starts – this way, even if I get blindsided and have to work overtime, I already got out for fresh air and physical activity.

In addition to planning the itinerary of my impending vacation, at decided I needed to order a few dresses for the upcoming trip. Enter ASOS…. they have the biggest selection of clothing imaginable and a nice spectrum of pricing to accommodate every budget:

This orange tie-dye dress was my favorite out of the three dresses that I ordered. It’s a maxi, which is a style I usually avoid because I fear it makes me look even shorter than I already am. However, this one is exceptionally flattering on my upper body and the color also worked in my favor
I always avoided the color orange – this is my first article of orange clothing, and it is so complimentary to my coloring that I may need to reconsider this color in the future. P.S. Peep Tuna in the background… ha
This mumu style frock is being returned tomorrow. It always looks great on the model (of course it does – they’re always like 5’9″ or taller with chicken legs…), but it never works on my body. I had to try it anyhow, because I loved the color and the eyelet trim. Oh well, more money in my pocket I guess … all $30. LOL.
This little frock, I was very excited for. Based on the online photo and model they showed it on, I thought it would fit perfectly. It was slightly too large, however. ASOS carries a lot of styles in petite sizing, but this dress is not one of them. I considered returning it, but I’m glad I didn’t, because sizing it down was pretty easy. I had to shorten the straps, take in the waist, and take up the hem, but the material is patterned cotton, so it wasn’t too difficult to do. Just time consuming (what isn’t?).

Once again, the temperatures here in NYC have been in the high 80s/low 90s, with humidity levels upwards of 75% each day, rendering it too hot to run the oven or do much cooking in my apartment. I should just post a good salad recipe, but I don’t consider throwing together a salad a recipe. I guess in lieu of a recipe, I’ll provide a few suggestions for things I like to make or throw together when it’s too hot to turn on the oven!

Hot Weather Dinner Ideas:

  1. A hearty salad (should have a source of protein to add substance, whether it’s chick peas, tofu, chicken, fake chicken, shrimp, or another kind of bean)
  2. Taco salad
  3. Non-meat tacos (**the fake meats they have cook super fast either in a microwave or a few minutes in a saute pan, so minimal heat is required)
  4. Caprese salad
  5. Ramen (this is not a toilsome soup that’s going to keep you chained to the stove for an hour, since instant ramen cooks in like 3 minutes). I suggest adding in some fresh veggies (bok choy, mushrooms, canned baby corn), diced tofu, and if you’re not vegan, boil a hard boiled egg in the same pot you cook the ramen in.
  6. BLTs (with real or fake bacon) – also works well with avocado or smoked salmon in place of the bacon.
  7. Tomato sandwiches
  8. Grilling the entire meal (veggies, potatoes, protein) … unfortunately I don’t have this luxury since I don’t have a grill here.
I made this Cobb salad last week when it was 90 degrees using Morning Star buffalo “chicken” bites, blue cheese dressing (sorry, it’s real blue cheese), etc.
These are my fake bacon BLTs from a few weeks ago – super fast and super tasty for a weeknight dinner or lunch
These tacos were a hit! Super fast and easy to prepare since the toppings are not cooked. I just sauteed some fake meat “beef” crumbles in a saute pan, and of course the tortillas need to be toasted a bit, but it really doesn’t require much heat output at all
Instant ramen, jazzed up with fresh veggies and an egg – literally takes 5 minutes to cook. Just beware of the sodium content!!!!!

Gnocchi, Eggplant, and the Daily Grind

OK – I think I just figured out how to add a caption again..

Apparently I can’t add captions to photos anymore… either that or the ChromeBook from 2015 that I use to write these posts hasn’t allowed for whatever updates I need to write captions, due to a software upgrade. Just another aspect of my existence that’s fallen behind the times and cannot be updated due to lack of funds. It’s whatever… I’ll spend the rest of my life using my discretionary income to buy birthday presents, help street cats, and buy wedding shower gifts for people while I remain struggling and wearing clothes from Poshmark and Forever21 (remember when I vowed to stop buying fast fashion? Yeah… If I made more money, maybe I could have kept that vow). It’s a fate I’ve come to accept. This is my purpose on life… to stay poor and serve others.

I’ll never own a house, I’ll never have kids (largely because I don’t want kids, but I also can’t afford them), and probably never get married at this rate. If I do get married, I’ll be so old that I won’t even be able to wear the sexy wedding dress I always imagined myself wearing – I’ll also need a “The Swan” level makeover prior to my wedding, because in addition to already needing botox and fillers (but not being able to afford them), I’ll also most likely require a breast lift and lipo by that point in my life. I’m fucked. Fucked financially, fucked in the head… you name it.

The only things I’m currently looking forward to are a Korn concert in August, and a trip to Italy and France that we are planning for September. I will finally see my boyfriend’s parents and his friends for the first time since 2018, and I will finally see the South of France, which I’ve wanted to visit for basically forever. I’m enjoying planning this vacation… however, it means I have to be even more careful with my already-limited discretionary income. I mean I don’t go out much, but when I do it somehow ends up being a $100-$200 evening… EVERY TIME. This is probably why I now only go out once a month…. Fucking Uber prices are out of control these days. I should honestly just delete the app and take my chances being assaulted as a drunk woman on the subway next time I’m out. I spent fucking $57 on an Uber from midtown Manhattan back to Williamsburg last Saturday. I could buy a week’s groceries with that.

Can you tell I’m in a great mood today? 😀

The other thing which has become the bane of my fucking existential existence, is that I am still helping the stray cats that I already busted my ass to raise money for and help off the streets. There is literally only so much I can do as one person, without extra cash to spend on two extra cats. I hate promoting the GoFundMe I created… it feels like begging, and that is the last thing I ever wanted to do. I basically spent 9 months of my life starving (legit… starving) because I didn’t want to ask my parents for help when I was working as a server and not even making enough money to pay my rent (which was only $650 back then….). Like, if I’m not even OK asking for help when I need it myself, how do you expect me to keep asking for help for two cats that everyone now thinks are “all good” just because they’re off the streets and in homes? I do what I can… but what I can do never feels like enough. I really thought my part would be done after the cats were off the street, in homes, and had their initial vet visits… now I get daily texts about one peeing outside of the litter box and the other one hiding under the bed. I sometimes think I did more harm then good. I guess this is why you shouldn’t meddle in other people’s business. Maybe these cats were better off on the street, and for my own selfish reasons, I couldn’t bare to walk by and see them living like that. Maybe they were happier… I don’t know.

Seriously though… I’m only living for this Korn concert and trip to Europe right now. I don’t care about dinners out, parties, drinks with friends… I just need this trip to Europe with the boyfriend I basically see one day a week. I’m over everything. I need a legit vacation, and I need time off with my boyfriend and no one else.

Sunday cheese board – I don’t think we had cheese in months! I couldn’t even finish my glass of wine because I was so fucking hungover from the night before… I am literally never going out again.

I’ve given up on the goal of finding a new job before July 6th, when I have to start going back to my office in midtown 2-3 days a week, but my new goal is to have a new job lined up when I get back from my vacation in late September. I think it’s doable – I just need to find the motivation to do it. I mean, more money is my primary motivation… but it’s so hard to find time and willpower when you’re already in front of a computer for 8 hours a day for work.

Speaking of work, I had to run a collateral errand for the first time in over a year and a few months, and it was kind of nice. The client was so desperate to have someone sign pages in front of me, that they paid for a car service to pick me up in Brooklyn, drive me to two towns in Long Island, and then back to the office in Midtown. I was bitching about the absurdity of it all the night before, but it was really nice sitting in a luxury SUV for three hours, and getting paid to just ride around collecting and dropping off signature pages. I think I could do it more often….

I was feeling good about myself after styling my hair for the first time since early 2020… had to take some pics, naturally
I must have a crop top for every band I like at this point….
My zit comes back in the same place every single month…there must be some sort of underground oil well on my face there. that releases oil when the estrogen starts flowing… LOL

It has been hotter than hell in NYC this past week – about 90-91 degrees every day for the last four days with 82% humidity… absolutely foul. I know people always bitch about how they can’t wait for Summer to come when we are in Winter here. I am not one of those people. Winters here are not even that brutal, but summers sure as hell are… especially in the last several years. Global warming is increasingly evident here. Since it has been so damn hot, I have been avoiding cooking anything that involves the oven or multiple sauce pans of boiling water on the range.

Before the heatwave arrived last week, I decided to take advantage of a nice 78 degree evening we had, and make gnocchi, since it involves the oven and I wanted to make one good meal before I swore off the oven for the next five days. I based the dish I made on one that a little, Italian restaurant in Alphabet City (East Village) had, once upon a time, when they were still open.

My sister was the one who introduced me to this restaurant – I remember going when I was a student at FIT, with my sister and mom and brother-in-law. I think I also went a couple of times after that. I just looked the restaurant up, and they opened in 2000! Apparently, they’re still open and they are now located in Tribeca! Who knew!

I remember they moved to Williamsburg for a brief time in 2013 after the lower East Side location closed, and I took my boyfriend to have dinner there after raving about the place for months. Sadly, when Max existed in Williamsburg, it was not as good as I’d remembered it to be. The food was mega salty and their was a lack of ambiance and coziness that the restaurant in Manhattan had had. Anyhow, they had this amazing gnocchi dish with roasted eggplant, and their marinara sauce was to die for! I feel like I ordered that dish every time I went to the lower East Side Max. And so, having picked up two nice eggplants from the deli last week, and needing a plan for them that was NOT eggplant parm (I was not about to bread and fry shit that night… that requires a very particular mood), I decided to recreate this dish!

This is a picture of the dish, as taken from Max’s website… I cannot believe they still exist! I will definitely have to check them out in Tribeca!
If you’re not going to make homemade sauce (and I sure as hell wasn’t, since I was making homemade gnocchi!) , I highly recommend Rao’s… it’s pricey and a bit salty (if not slightly diluted) but it tastes homemade!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large eggplant (or two smaller ones)
  • 1 jar of quality marinara sauce (Rao’s isVictoria brand)
  • 1 package bocconcino (mozzarella balls) **OPTIONAL
  • grated Parmigiano to top the dish, and for the gnocchi
  • fresh basil to garnish
  • olive oil
  • FOR THE GNOCCHI:
  • 2 large Idaho potatoes
  • 2 cups flour ( 1.5 will go directly into the gnocchi mix and rest is for kneading and dusting the counter top, etc)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS:

  • Set oven to 400 degrees
  • Wash your potatoes and pierce them with a fork in several locations around the potato, rub in oil, and set on baking tray
  • Wash eggplant and cut into small cubes
  • arrange eggplant on same tray as potatoes, coat in olive oil and sprinkle with salt
  • put tray of potatoes/eggplant into oven to bake: the eggplant can come out after 20 minutes, and go into a saucepan, the potatoes need to bake about 45-50 minutes (total), so they will go back into the over after you move the eggplant to the saucepan
Sorry for these snaps from Instagram. I try to make it a pint to take regular pictures on my phone, but I often end up posting videos of the process to my Instagram stories, and then have to take screenshots for the blog!
  • After 20 minutes at 400 degrees, the eggplant will be transferred to a large saucepan on the stove, over low-medium heat (make sure the saucepan is coated with olive oil!)
  • Cook the eggplant over low heat for another 4 minutes or so, and then add in the entire jar of sauce, along with maybe 1/4 cup extra water, and continue to cook over low heat until the eggplant is very soft (it should already be fairly soft after the oven)
  • Once the potatoes are done baking (you should test by sticking a knife into the potato), slice the potatoes open length wise and let cool for a minute, or just until you’re able to handle them without burning your hands
  • once you are able to handle the hot potatoes, use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the potato into a large mixing bowl (you want to make sure you avoid getting the skin into the gnocchi mix)
  • Add in about 1/4 cup grated Parm, 1.5 cups flour, salt, and the beaten egg and mix away! (you can also add a couple tablespoons of olive oil, or even cold water, if needed!)
  • Mix all of the ingredients together to form a soft dough
  • add more flour if necessary (a bit at a time) – the dough should not be sticky or tacky
  • lightly flour the surface on which you will be rolling out the dough, flour the dough lightly and cut into four, equal sections
  • working with one section at a time, roll the dough into a rope that is about as thick as your thumb
  • Next, take a sharp knife and cute the rope into 1 inch sections that should look like little pillows
The little pillows I am referring to ^^
  • I like to lightly flour the gnocchi at this pint, before I make the fork imprints
  • after the gnocchi has been cut into these little pillows, you will use the tongs of a fork to gently imprint the top … this helps sauce stick on them, although this step can probably be skipped if you’re in a rush for time or just not feeling the extra effort
  • Set aside the finished gnocchi, onto a plate or board, where they can later easily be transferred to a pot of boiling water
  • complete these steps with the remaining three pieces of dough (don’t say I didn’t warn you – it literally takes FOREVER… this is definitely a dish to impress or show your love to someone)
My babies!
  • now that your gnocchi are waiting, start a pot of heavily salted water on high heat and bring to a boil
  • You should also turn the oven back on, to 380 degrees (you’re going to finish the dish in the oven after all ingredients have been added)
  • add in the fresh gnocchi once the water is boiling – because they are fresh, they will only take a minute or two to cook
  • you’ll know they are done, once they float to the surface of the pot
  • using a slatted spoon, scoop the gnocchi from the surface up and into the saucepan with the sauce and eggplant
  • Once the gnocchi has been added to the sauce/eggplant, you’ll want to throw in a handful of the little mozzarella balls, transfer the saucepan (as long as it doesn’t have any plastic!) directly into the oven, and bake for about 6 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted
  • Serve in a bowl and top with freshly grated parm and fresh basil for garnish
This is definitely a dish to steal a man (or woman’s) heart)

Enjoy!!!! 🙂

Update on the McKibbin Cats and a Scallop Dish to Impress

A dish to impress someone special – scallops and wild, black rice over a roasted red pepper, tomato bisque

Before I dive into the recipe for the above pictured dish, or bore you with the bullshit of my life, let me first provide an update on the two, local street cats I’ve been busting my ass to help get off the streets.

The two McKibbin Street cats that I’ve basically been working a second, full-time, non-paid job to help get off the streets… hopefully it will all be worth it

If you’ll recall from my earlier post(s), or if you follow me or my cats on Instagram, you’ll know that my current life mission has been helping these two cats that live a few streets down from me. It has honestly been more work, effort, time and emotional taxation than I initially assumed it would be – first reaching-out to, and now coordinating-with various local rescues and the cats’ long-time feeder to help them. My goal is and was to have both cats see a vet, and then be placed together with a foster, adopter, or perhaps sent to live the rest of their days in a cat sanctuary or a bucolic barn setting.

I thought that once I found a local rescue group willing to assist, my job would be over, but I’m actually doing almost all of the work. Finding a rescue group that was able and willing to help literally took about two months of back and forth Instagram messaging with upwards of five different rescues. Greenpoint Cats (@greenpoint_cats) said that they would help trap the cats, extend their rescue discount at the vet they use, and also now, they’re saying that they can also try to help find a foster or look into other placement options. This is extremely helpful, since I don’t know where to begin.

The crappy part of all of this has been the fact that it is “kitten season” – the time of year when litter after litter of homeless kittens and pregnant mothers are found on the streets, in abandoned buildings, delis, etc.. Obviously, local rescues are inundated with calls to help rescue these kittens and pregnant moms, and they’ve been taking priority – which is understandable. There have also been a lot of abandoned cats and pets that people call in and need to be rescued immediately from terrible situations; cats found in cardboard boxes or cat carriers, just left on the street scared and in their own filth, cats seen being kicked out of cars on the highway… people honestly disgust me. Don’t even get me started though…. it makes my blood boil.

Since all of these rescues are non-profit organizations, they rely on donations from people to help vet the cats they take in or find that are in need of medical assistance. I’m not sure why I assumed they’d be sitting on a pile of cash and ready to cover vet bills, but they aren’t, and so it was suggested I start a GoFundMe to help pay for these two cats’ vet bills. There is no way I make enough money to cover their expenses by myself, after all, I have two cats of my own, rent, bills and lot on my plate as is. I WISH I had funds to help random stray cats, and every other animal in need, but sadly, I do not. And so, I swallowed my pride and started a GoFundMe.

If you are reading this right now and you’ve already contributed, thank you again. Thank you, thank you, thank you – you don’t know how much I appreciate the fact that someone else cares!!! If you are reading this and you are my friend in real life and have not contributed, please do so. All I am asking for is $5 that you might otherwise spend on booze, drugs, or takeout food. I’m not asking for a large contribution, as I know everyone is struggling right now, and everyone has their own priorities (which are clearly not the same as mine). But seriously, if you consider yourself my friend, you will know how important this is to me, SO PLEASE DO SOMETHING TO HELP 🙂

DONATE NOW TO THE MCKIBBIN CATS GO FUND ME BY CLICKING HERE

Anyhow, I digress. I never realized how annoying and time consuming it would be to start and run a GoFundMe and acquiesce to asking family, friends and social media friends to contribute. It feels similar to begging, and I am not a fan. A lot of people have surprised me by donating and sharing – people I don’t even know in real life and am only friends with on Social Media. So, here is an extra thank you to them!!!! It has really warmed my heart to see how generous people you don’t even know in real life can be!!! I am truly grateful.

Coordinating with the cats’ long-time feeder has also been stressful. She means well and has already been doing a huge part by feeding these two cats over the last 6-7 years. There used to be a colony of FIVE CATS! Can you believe it??? She was the one who initially coordinated with ASPCA to have them spayed and neutered and has been feeding them twice a day, every day for the last several years. That is serious work – not to mention emotional heartache every time one of them gets sick or the weather turns bad and she cannot bring them in. Several of the cats have died over the years, and now just the two remaining girls remain – it is my goal that they can spend the last years of their lives comfortably and without worry or stress or struggle.

We have finally set a date to trap and bring them to the vet for checkups, vaccinations, etc. Both cats will be brought to the vet in DUMBO by me, on Friday, May 28th. I’m hoping that neither cat needs extensive work or treatment. I’m also praying neither cat is FeLV positive, as their feeder assumes that they are (the other cats in the colony that passed away were positive).

After we better know the condition of the cats’ health, we will be able to better understand what kind of living arrangements they will require or what would be the best option for them. No matter where they go, we want to keep them together, since they’ve been friends and each other’s support all these years on the street. Finding a foster is going to be hard since they are two older cats, one of whom is friendly and one of whom is almost feral. If you are reading this right now, and you live in the tri-state area and either you or someone you know would be happy to foster or adopt both cats, please reach out to me!!!! I would literally be willing to drive the cats upwards of 100 miles in any direction if we can find a good fit.

Anyhow, that is my update on the McKibbin cats. I’ve probably been putting in an average of 2-3 extra hours each day promoting the GoFundMe, talking to and coordinating with the rescue and the cats’ regular feeder, and thinking of ways to find these cats a home. The individuals for whom this is a full time or part-time job (working for the local animal rescue groups) do not get nearly enough praise or reward for all the good they do in this world, and I’m slowly learning how fucking hard this work is. If anyone out there helps animals in need, thank you for what you do – you’re making this world a better place and making a huge difference in their lives.

I finally spent some quality time with my boyfriend last week – not only was he off on Tuesday night, but he was off *some* of the day on Sunday… hallelujah
If you know me, you know I love disco balls: this is from the lobby of 55 Water Street, Brooklyn

My boyfriend was off on Tuesday night last week, and we were able to get in to one of our favorite places for dinner: Cecconi’s DUMBO! What a treat! We hadn’t been in a couple of years, I think – the last time was definitely before Corona times.

The restaurant is so romantic – beautiful, dark, classic and cozy. The perfect spot for a dinner date, or for a small family dinner. I really need to bring my parents here next time they visit. The food was great as always – cooked to perfection (or, not cooked, in the case of the salmon tartare), and the cocktail I had was delicious. Needless to say, I am looking forward to next time! The building that the restaurant is in (55 Water Street), is also really cool – there are some fun shops and now the building has an accessible rooftop!

I’m always trying to capture the mood of a place when I snap a picture like this, and I always fail miserably. Please google pictures of this place – you’ll want to go. The bar is huge and beautiful, they have low-lit chandeliers, velvet chairs, and windows looking out onto a patio and the Brooklyn Bridge.

My boyfriend was “partially” off on Sunday, which is definitely better than the usual 14-hour, 12pm – 1:30am shift he has been doing for the last 4 months. Sunday used to be our day off – the only FULL day off we both had – where neither him nor myself was working. I really miss being able to go out late on Saturdays, sleep in late on Sundays, and take a drive together or do something productive with our day together. Alas, we still had to go into Elsie for several hours this past Sunday, but I got a couple drinks out of it, so I’m not complaining. I also got to check out the new rooftop he helped open, the Glass Ceiling Nomad.

View from the outside terrace at Glass Ceiling Nomad – this was taken right before it started raining… luckily it stopped after an hour.

After we left Elsie, we enjoyed a late and quiet dinner at my favorite Brooklyn/Williamsburg sushi (Japanese Tapas, rather) spot of all time: Bozu.

Bozu is a Williamsburg institution – the place has been open since 2004, before all of the yuppies, wall street douche bags, trust-fund-wanna-be-artists, celebrities and models invaded North Williamsburg and ruined its vibe.

It’s technically a “Japanese tapas” place, but they are known for their sushi bombs (“partyboms” on the menu), which do not disappoint and which I order EVERY SINGLE TIME I eat here. I’ve been going here since 2008. I FUCKING love this place, although right now, they have a limited drink menu. I’ve really been missing that lychee martini and the blood orange cocktail they used to make.

They do still have their tofu salad, which is made with silky tofu they make in-house, and some delicious zucchini that’s been marinated in a soy based dressing. I truly hope this place stays open forever. It’s one of my favorites and holds a special place in my heart. Honestly, the prices are not bad either. The partybomb comes with 12 huge pieces of sushi and is pretty filling for two people to share along with a couple of appetizers thrown in!

Clearly I was a bit buzzed when I snapped this photo on the way out of Bozu. LOL. I only had a glass of wine with dinner, but I’d had a few drinks over the course of the afternoon while I was waiting for my BF

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know what you’re thinking after reading this caption: that I said I was done drinking. I totally am! On WEEKDAYS. I’ve realized that I feel a lot healthier, mentally stable, and productive just by avoiding alcohol Monday – Thursday. I’m not going to go cold-turkey on weekends – it’s just too difficult and restrictive. I cannot imagine going to a rooftop or a restaurant and not allowing myself one or two drinks. I mean, WTF??? Unless someone has a serious problem abusing alcohol or they are totally allergic (which, by the way, I think I am at this stage in my life… oh well) I don’t see why they need to restrict themselves to the point of a total teetotaler.

I’m still trying to walk a certain number of miles each day (2-3 is my weekday goal) and do basic floor exercises at home. I feel so much better emotionally, mentally, and physically when I am not completely sedentary in front of my work laptop and iphone all day. It just isn’t healthy to NOT be moving. In order to encourage and motivate myself to work out, I invested in an adorable new workout outfit:

Not only am I obsessed with the colors and how perfectly this hand-dyed ensemble fits me, but it also smells HEAVENLY. You can check out her Etsy shop here:

SUNSHINE HONEY EARTH – the perfect shop to find a hand-dyed gift for someone special or just for yourself! She also makes hand-dyed cloth towels, lounge sets, etc.

The colors are so fun – and I usually don’t do colors… but for workout wear? Hell yes.

In other news, we are slated to go back to the office on July 6th. If you know me, you probably know I’d rather die than go back to the office, that is not an exaggeration. I really need to start looking for another job, because I refuse to go back to the office. Life has been so good without the addition of 2 hours added onto each workday, spent in transit and riding the disgusting, fucking subway.

In fact, the subway is still so dangerous, I am not even comfortable riding it twice daily, 3-5 days a week. There are still slashings happening every single day in the subway and on the subway platforms, and they happen during broad daylight. Does my company really want to put hundreds of commuters at risk by exposing them to that?

Not only am I totally against riding the subway twice daily for the purposes of work, but I honestly do not know how I got things done when I had to spend 7+ hours of each day sitting in my Manhattan office, and the extra 2 hours running to and from and riding trains to go there and then go back home again. I still average only 6.5 hours of sleep a night (on a good night), because there is just so much to do in a 24-hour day. I’m writing this at 12:30 am right now, because by the time I finished taking care of everything I needed to tonight, it was 10:30 pm.

I don’t know how I managed to look after and care for my cats, keep a clean apartment, run errands and pick up groceries, cook dinner, take care of myself, have any sort of discretionary free time to write, etc., and manage to sleep at least 6 hours a night when I was commuting and working in the office. No wonder I was burnt out all the time and frazzled. I don’t know how I did it all before, and I honestly do not want to go back to that stressful lifestyle. The best thing about working from home has been the extra hour of sleep each morning, being able to run an errand or grab groceries when work is slow for 30 minutes, exercising on my floor when work is slow for a few minutes, and just doing all of the other shit I used to have to wait until 6:30 pm to do each night after I finally got home from work. FUCK THAT. I’ll do whatever it takes to never go back to that office…

Anyhow, I digress…..

Now that you’re all caught up with the cat situation and on my relatively boring existence, here is the recipe you’ve been waiting for. This is the perfect meal to cook for someone special, someone you’re trying to impress, or just for yourself because you have time on your hands and you deserve it! This is also my least favorite part of every blog, because despite the fact that I live for cooking, writing out a recipe and directions is really tedious and boring.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound of fresh or frozen sea scallops
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 bottle of dry white wine or rose (you’ll need 1 cup for the rice, and 1/2 cup for the bisque)
  • 1 box seafood stock, or bottle of clam juice
  • 1.5 cups of wild, black rice
  • 2 cups of chicken (or vegetarian – chicken) stock** I make mine using “Better Than Bouillon” “No-chicken base,” but boxed stock works just as well
  • large dollop of sour cream or a few Tbs. of heavy cream
  • Freshly chopped chives (to garnish)
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • *If you DO NOT have a gas-burning range, you’ll need to start with the roasted red pepper in the oven: heat oven to 400 degrees, brush pepper in olive oil, and roast pepper for 20 minutes on one side, before flipping to the other side and roasting for another 20 minutes.** Set pepper aside once roasted.
  • In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over low heat
  • Peel and smash the two cloves of garlic and place into the pot of oil, cooking for a minute and stirring occasionally
  • Add in the dry rice, and coat with oil, cooking over low heat and stirring for two minutes, raise the temperature of the burner to medium
This rice is full of fiber and has a nice flavor and aesthetic, but it takes a full hour to cook
I prepare this rice the same way I would a risotto, adding a cup full of liquid at a time, however, I cook most of the moisture out when all is said and done, so it isn’t as wet as a risotto would be
  • Add 1 cup of wine and stir, cover and let cook for about 1 minute
  • Reduce heat back to low, and add in 2 cups of the clam juice (or seafood stock); stir and cover until most of the liquid has been absorbed, checking on the rice and stirring occasionally to see if more liquid is needed
  • For every 1 – 1.5 cups of liquid, the rice takes about 15-20 minutes of cooking over low heat to absorb the liquid
  • Once the stock/clam juice has been absorbed, add in 1 cup of water at a time, intermittently stirring and keeping covered to make sure it is being absorbed and more liquid is not needed
  • At some point, taste the rice to see if it needs any salt or pepper
  • You will know the rice is done once the grains have expanded and it is edible (you don’t want the rice to be hard). Take the pot of rice off the heat and set aside.
Roast the red pepper over a low flame (only applicable for gas-burning stoves).
  • If you’ll be roasting your red pepper over a gas flame, grab some tongs to assist. Roast the pepper over a low flame, turning every couple of minutes.
  • If is OK to leave the pepper on the cast iron burner for a minute or two (without holding it with the tongs), so long as the flame is very low.
  • Once the pepper grows soft and blackened, you’ll know it is thoroughly cooked. This process takes about 20-25 minutes.
  • Take your roasted red pepper, and slough off the blackened/charred skin, before cutting into 1-inch chunks.
Sorry my pictures suck – I screenshotted videos from my Instagram stories! If you check out my Instagram highlights, I have videos illustrating this recipe.
Here is the roasted pepper, charred bits sloughed off and cut into chunks
  • Next, you’ll want to prepare your chicken (vegetarian-chicken) stock, if it is not coming directly from a box
  • Heat up 2 cups of water over medium heat in a small sauce pan and add in 1.5 tsps of the ‘Better Than Bouillon’ and stir until dissolved
  • Empty the stock into a pyrex measuring cup or small bowl; you’re going to use the same small saucepan to make your bisque
I love this shit. It tastes just like chicken stock, but it is vegetarian. Please note: it does not taste like the weak-ass veggie stock that comes in a box and tastes nothing like chicken stock. This is the real deal and a perfect substitute
  • Next, you’re going to heat up the 1 Tbs. of butter in the same sauce pan you heated up your stock in, over low heat
  • Add in the chunks of roasted red pepper, and 2-3 Tbs. of the tomato paste and stir together over low heat
  • Add in 1/2 cup of the wine, and stir
  • Add in a 1 – 1.5 cups of the stock and stir; you’ll want this mixture to remain fairly thick
  • Pour the contents of your pot into a blender, and blend on medium
  • Add the blended contents back to the sauce pan, and add in a few Tbs. of heavy cream or a generous dollop of sour cream and stir over low heat
  • Add in a pinch of cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste
  • Feel free to add more liquid (either stock or cream) if needed, until the consistency is that of a thick soup, if it is not already
  • Set aside the bisque
The key to a good pan-seared scallop is to pat them completely dry, and, as I only recently found out, always cook them in cast iron (the stainless steel just doesn’t yield the same results)

  • Next, you’ll want to pat your scallops dry with a paper towel, and sprinkle with salt and pepper
    • In a cast iron skillet, heat 2 Tbs. butter over medium heat
    • Once the butter is sizzling, add in your scallops, and cook for about 1.5 – 2 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown
    Seriously, I cannot stress enough the difference cooking the scallops in a cast iron pan made
    • Set the scallops aside, and re-heat the bisque and rice (if necessary)
    • To plate: put a ladle of bisque onto a plate, a pile of rice slightly to the side, and arrange your scallops around the rice.
    • Garnish with freshly chopped chives and enjoy!

    Crab Corn Risotto, and Summer Goals

    One of my favorite risottos that I’ve ever made – there was an equal amount of corn to rice, so I didn’t feel overly-full after going to town and consuming three servings

    There is a recipe … I promise. If you’re only here for the recipe, scroll down! If you’re here for my bullshit, welcome 🙂

    Let me preface this by saying this is MY favorite risotto that I’ve ever made. I basically replaced half of the uncooked rice with corn, so it was light, delicious, and I kept going back for more. I also really love crab meat….

    Life has been boring yet crazy these last few months. My boyfriend has been working like a dog, and I legit never seen him. He works 7 days a week. We usually have one or two nights a week off (Monday and/or Tuesday between 7-11pm). He’s always working…ALWAYS. We haven’t had a full day off together since February, and as a result, I’ve become more neurotic than normal. Not sure if this is a good thing, or a bad thing. I’m kind of on the fence.

    I have a lot of alone time to focus on myself and reflect, which is good since I am an anti-social introvert, at the end of the day. It is also bad, since I am an anti-social introvert, who hates most people and social engagements, at the end of the day. I spend a lot of time talking to friends online, and I have one or two friends I see regularly in-person. It is what it is… I feel like being alone makes me even bitchier than I already am sometimes. But I also love being alone, because I can always be my true self… it’s a double-edged sword for sure.

    The view from my roof, which they told us would be a “finished” roof when we first moved into this apartment back in 2017… so much for those false promises
    View of Manhattan (and the local projects) from my roof

    Every time I go out, I spend way too much money. I don’t think I can go out and have a night under $200. Maybe this is just me? I don’t know. I drink too much, I get lazy and spend money on Ubers when I should just take a subway instead (times are dangerous, no?). This makes me not want to go out at all. I’m trying to fucking save money. I want to leave this city – I want to buy a house. I want to quit my job. However, sometimes I am forced to spend money…namely, every time I engage with another human face-to-face. A girl has to keep a few friends, or else, what does she really have at the end of the day??? It’s a tough situation… I also buy myself clothes when I’m feeling down, which is increasingly often.

    I’ve been using all of this extra free time to focus on bettering myself both physically and mentally.

    Me and my baby… I cannot do floor exercises without my cats crawling underneath of me, laying next to me, or otherwise interfering

    My goal this summer (besides traveling to Europe to see the in-laws, whom I haven’t seen since 2018, and taking an actual vacation), is to wear shorts… in public. I know this sounds stupid to most people reading this. Maybe it is stupid. The sad truth is, I hate my legs – I have hated them since puberty/age 12, when they went from being knobby-kneed chicken legs to the most curvaceous and voluptuous part of my-otherwise-thin-and-muscular body. I feel like they don’t fit the rest of my body – they’re the first place to gain weight and the last place to lose it. I swear to god – if I eat a huge meal or binge eat for a few days, my stomach is still flat and has definition, but I will be a pant-size bigger because everything accumulates on my inner thighs and on my ass. I know that this is on par with today’s standards of beauty… but I grew up in the 90’s and I’m not about that thick-slim lifestyle, alright??? It’s cool if you are, But I’m just not. We all have our personal aesthetics – some women want boob jobs and Brazilian butt lifts. I want a thigh gap and a six pack.

    I’m not saying I’m not thin – I know that I am thin by normal standards. But here’s the thing – I am 5’3″ with a small build….I have small bones and I’m tiny. In pictures with a group of people, my head looks like half the size of other people’s heads. I don’t want to walk around with a Kardashian-sized ass… it doesn’t fit my body or my personality or my aesthetic. And this is why, for the first time in my life, I have been busting my ass (no pun intended) to do actual work outs.

    When I was younger (i.e. up until a few years ago), I would just start skipping meals to lose weight. This time, I’m actually doing it right. I’m still eating… just a lot healthier. When I was younger and wanted to lose weight, I would just eat one meal a day and make it whatever I wanted – a burger and fries, a milkshake, a steak, 1/3 of a cake….nowadays, they call this “intermittent fasting,” and it’s what the cool kids do. It’s what the Silicon Valley boys do.

    I can’t do that shit anymore. I actually get hungry before 3pm these days. So now, I’m eating salads for breakfast at like 10am, trying to refrain from drinking a bottle of wine each night, and not eating after 7pm. Which, by the way, is extremely difficult to do in NYC, because whenever you make plans or a dinner date, it’s cooler and more romantic to eat later at night. Having a social life is harder now. Every time someone makes dinner plans for 8pm, I just want to be like “BITCH… I’m not 26 anymore. I can’t drink four glasses of wine and eat a fucking pizza at 8:30pm without waking up 6 lbs. heavier.”

    Anyhow, I’ve actually been making sure I get out for walks EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even when I’m tired or hungover, even when work has been hell, even when it’s cold. I make sure I get my ass out there for at least 3 miles a day. I’ve also been doing push-ups, leg lifts, wall sits, and jumping around each and every day. I’m not 26 anymore, and starving myself while still being lazy isn’t an option that works for me at this point in my life.

    I will not spend another Summer ashamed to put on shorts. I will not spend another Summer wearing tight-ass, black, skinny jeans in 95 degree heat for a 5 mile walk with my friend. No… not this year. I remember I once when to Vegas with my family. I was 19 and it was the summer of 2007. I had gained maybe 15 lbs. in college that year, and even though it was 103-105 degrees every day in Vegas, I refused to wear shorts or put on a swimsuit and get in the pool. Last year, I came pretty close to feeling this way. In the beginning of lock-down, my boyfriend didn’t even want me going out for walks because he thought I’d catch COVID and die (been there, done that… I didn’t die — I didn’t even get sick (minus still having phantom smells 7 months later), but that’s another story). I basically sat at home for three months, did no exercises and binge-ate out of boredom. I gained weight, and I hated myself. I hate living in a body that I hate. It’s like being in a prison. Maybe not everyone feels this way – they shouldn’t. I honestly hope no one EVER feels this way, but I do.

    After taking years of dance lessons in front of a large mirror with other girls, and knowing my body so well, how it moves, how it responds to certain exercises – I’ve realized that this body is my home. This is where my mind and my soul and my personality all have to co-exist. In order all components to live in harmony, my body needs to be in shape. In order to be mentally and emotionally healthy and happy, I need to be happy with this shell that I inhabit.

    I bought these biker shorts last year and haven’t worn them out of the house. They’re too long (I hiked them up here), and high-waisted (I folded them over here). If worn how they’re meant to be worn (high-waisted and hitting above the knee), they make me look about 4’9″ and 20 lbs heavier.

    I bought these shorts at Walmart last year when I thought I’d take up jogging (what a JOKE) during the early days of the pandemic. I was inspired by my sister, who looks amazing in biker shorts. Me – not so much… these also haven’t left the house.

    Seriously though – I never want to spend another Summer in skinny, black jeans because I’m too self-conscious to wear shorts or dresses. I’m tired of being hot, uncomfortable, and feeling ashamed of and disconnected to my body. And it’s my own damn fault, for not doing more about it. You can’t just dislike something and be unwilling to make the effort to change it – whether it’s your body, your job, etc.

    Anyhow, let’s discuss this risotto!

    If you like crab meat and corn, look no further

    The RECIPE – Let’s get onto this stellar recipe:

    INGREDIENTS: 

    • (1) 16 oz. Can of pasteurized lump crab meat
    • 1 box (32 oz.) of seafood stock or, 3-4 cups of “Better than Bouillon – NO Chicken Base”
    • 1.5 cups of uncooked Arborio rice
    • 3 cups, cooked, blended sweet corn (use blender)
    • 1 large, finely-chopped roasted red pepper, or one small can of finely-chopped, roasted red pepper
    • 1 cup of white wine (any will do as long as it’s not too sweet – Sauvignon Blanc is ideal)
    • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, finely minced
    • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/3 cup half and half (light cream or heavy cream will also do)
    • 4 Tbs. butter
    • 3 Tbs. olive oil
    • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
    • 1 bay leaf (dried or fresh)
    • 1 tsp dried basil
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • fresh parsley to garnish

    DIRECTIONS:

    • Cook 3 cups of corn over high heat until done
    • Blend corn with 1/3 cup water in blender and set aside
    • In a large wok or deep saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat and add in the minced onion
    • Cook onion over very low heat (being careful not to burn it) for about 1-2 minutes
    • Add in the rice (yes – the secret to good risotto is slightly cooking the dry rice in the olive oil for a couple of minutes without liquid… I don’t know why, but it adds a depth of flavor)
    • Continue to stir and cook the rice over a low heat until it’s completely covered in the oil and begins to become ever-so-translucent in color
    • Raise the heat to medium and add in the white wine (I like to turn up the heat of the burner before adding the wine so that it makes that nice ‘SSSSSsssssss!!!’ sound when it his the hot pan)
    • Risotto is a dish that has to be stirred pretty much continuously – you can’t really step away from more than 30 seconds, so START STIRRING… and don’t stop!
    • As the liquid is absorbed by the rice, add in roughly 1 cup of seafood stock or fake chicken stock at a time, and keep gently stirring until it’s been absorbed
    • Alternate liquid stock with blended corn mixture
    • After you’ve added the first cup of stock and 1st cup of corn mixture, and once the rice is moist, add in the bay leaf and other seasonings (granulated garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper)
    • Keep adding cup after cup of stock or blended corn mixture, until you’ve used up the entire contents of the corn mixture, and most of the stock.. by this point, the rice should be pretty tender, but neither dry nor too saturated in liquid
    • Add in the half and half (or cream) and continue to stir
    • Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and the butter
    • Add in the chopped roasted peppers and stir
    • Add in the can of crab and gently stir
    • Continue cooking over low heat, sample and see if any additional seasonings are needed
    • Add in the butter and turn off the heat… stir until butter is melted and incorporated thoroughly
    • Add more salt/pepper to desired taste (if necessary)
    • Remove the bay leaf, and serve on a plate – garnish with fresh parsley and voila!

    And now, for an update on the homeless cats a few blocks away :

    Someone ripped down my sign requesting to build a shelter or provide a shelter in the community garden. That made me pretty fucking angry, as you can imagine.

    Who wants a port-a-potty in the community garden, and tons of plastic lawn ornaments and flags, but not a fucking cat shelter that looks like a mini cottage?! Evil Pentecostal church-goers… that’s who.

    I did, however, meet another person who has also been looking out for the cats, which was nice. Now, there is like a team of us making sure these two cats are fed and taking care of, and that brings me great joy.

    #cheers

    Paccheri, Saving Cats, and the Welcome Return of Low-Rise Pants

    Last Sunday’s dinner. My entire life is dedicated to working a job to pay the bills, cooking, and worrying about cats… whether my own, or local strays.

    If you came here for the recipe, scroll down…. because I’ve got a lot to say that isn’t about pasta.

    I feel like it’s the Fall of 2011 again, because I am currently obsessed with looking after a couple of homeless cats in need, and the thought of saving them is currently consuming almost every waking thought. I don’t know why I get so obsessed with these things from time to time.

    It’s literally like the year that Bijou, his sister, “Pot Pie,” and his mother showed up in my parent’s backyard when I was living at home after college, and my entire life’s focus and goal became saving those cats. After we were able to live-trap them and get them spayed/neutered, I built a shelter from scratch using a large, dog kennel, tarps, and my own, down coat. This shelter not-so-lovingly was soon referred to as “tent city”, and my dad, mom, and sister were all pretty appalled by the situation happening in the backyard, since my homemade shelter stuck out like a sore thumb when you looked out the living room sliding door. I must admit, it was pretty trashy looking, but it was functional and kept the cats warm and dry.

    I remember coming home from work and checking on the cats to make sure they were all accounted for and using the shelter and had been fed. The only thing I would look forward to after each and every miserable shift at Hollister in Binghamton, was coming home to check on and take care of those cats. I even bought a fucking electric blanket that I made my parent’s keep plugged in on the front porch all winter long, and I turned the Adirondack chair into a secondary shelter for them – covered in blankets and sheepskins, with the electric blanket underneath.

    I literally cannot stand to see or be aware of an animal in need or distress. I don’t give a fuck about most humans – judge me however you want. Unless a human is a baby or a child in a fucked up situation, they can ask for help and they have unlimited resources to get help. Animals are defenseless and at the mercy of humans who either are kind enough to help them out, or ignore them and let them suffer.

    I am imploring anyone who is reading this right now, to ask around and see if anyone you know would like to take in a street cat as a pet, or knows someone who can help get them homed. I’ve reached out to several local organizations, but most of them are TNR (trap/neuter/release). They all seemed happy to hear the cats were spayed and had a regular feeder, but told me in order to have them fostered out, we will first need to know if the cats are friendly.

    I met the cats’ feeder, an older lady, who “claims” that she feeds them twice daily. I have reason to believe her claim is bullshit though, since I now make the effort to walk by the parking lot where the cats live, twice-daily, to check on them. I also bring food and fresh water to feed them if I don’t see evidence that they’ve already been fed. At least I know the cats are both spayed, which she also told me, since they have the telltale clipped ears.

    I left laminated notices on the the community garden next to the parking lot where the cats live, to see if the people gardening there would be ok with me placing a shelter for the cats in the garden. The garden is really shitty and adorned with crappy plastic lawn ornaments, etc., so I don’t know why they’d be opposed to me placing an nice, cottage-style cat lodge there. No one has responded to my post yet though, and I am getting more and more disturbed.

    I will literally go on a fucking hunger strike if I need to, in order to get these cats the help they need. I am willing to throw down $200 of my own money to buy shelters, but I can’t just buy shelters and place them behind a gated garden without someone a) letting me into the gate, and b) ensuring they will not be thrown out.

    Today, I saw the older, mangier looking cat sleeping on a discarded pillow that made its way under the front of a truck parked in the parking lot… it fucking broke my heart. I cannot let these cats go on living this way, when my own two, spoiled cats are fat, happy, warm, healthy and loved. I would take the cat in myself, but I have a one bedroom apartment and two male cats, so bringing in a third just isn’t going to work.

    This is the cat I worry about the most – she is much older and unhealthier looking than the second one who lives here
    This is the younger, healthier looking cat. She seems much more skittish and has not let me pet her.

    Anyhow, enough about the cats. I will find a way to help them, whether it’s a shelter or helping them to be vetted and fostered out.

    It was a rainy walk home to Brooklyn from Manhattan last Sunday.

    Last Sunday, I was doing my usual walk home from Elsie Rooftop back to Brooklyn, when I was suddenly inspired to stop by Eataly and spend money I shouldn’t be spending on overpriced pasta.

    The night before, I was scrolling through the ‘gram and saw an upright, tubular pasta dish that this Italian food blogger/cook I follow on Instagram had posted, and I felt the urge to make something similar. And so, in the pouring rain, I stopped by Eataly Flatiron for the key ingredients – a large, tubular pasta that could be stuffed and baked in an upright position, and a good quality ricotta. I was pleasantly surprised to find Eataly was not as busy as usual (I guess because of the rain), so I had time to meander the aisles and find the perfect ingredients without feeling stressed.

    I have probably said this before, but I wish I could live in Eataly. I miss sitting at the wine bar though, which is still closed do to the COVID bar restrictions
    I purchased this large bag of paccheri for $11. Because each noodle is so large, a little bit goes a long way. You only need about 6-7 noodles per serving, so I will be able to create two more dishes with this same bag.
    I found a smoked ricotta in the cheese section, which I have never tried before, and couldn’t resist.

    Have I ever mentioned I hating out these recipes from my head, and that’s why I don’t do it as often as I should? LOL. I know this was supposed to be food and recipe blog… I love cooking, but man do I hate taking the time to type out the recipe.

    The Morning Star brand sausage patties are my favorite fake-sausage alternative for when you need crumbled sausage

    INGREDIENTS:

    1. Large, tubular pasta (paccheri or cannelloni work best)
    2. 1/3 cup good quality ricotta (or smoked ricotta)
    3. 1/2 pound ground sausage (or meatless sausage)
    4. 2 cups fresh spinach or arugula
    5. Container of Mushrooms (baby bella), coarsely chopped
    6. 1/2 medium sized white or yellow onion, finely chopped
    7. 1/3 cup olive oil
    8. 2 Tbs. butter (or butter substitute)
    9. 2 Tbs. flour
    10. 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    11. 2 cups Whole milk (or milk substitute – I used oat milk)
    12. 1 tsp. granulated garlic
    13. 2 tsp. dried oregano
    14. salt and pepper to taste
    15. pinch of nutmeg
    16. coarsely chopped fresh basil or parsley

    DIRECTIONS:

    • If using the recommended Morning Star Sausage, cook for 1.5 minutes in microwave, then roughly chop into crumbles and set aside
    • Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil over low heat in a large saucepan, and add in the minced onions. Stir occasionally until translucent.
    • Add in the chopped mushrooms, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft (8-10 minutes).
    • Add in a 2 Tbs. of butter and let melt
    • Add in 2 Tbs. of flour, to form a roux
    Pictured here: the onions and mushrooms in the roux (butter + flour)
    • Gradually add in milk or milk substitute, increasing the heat to medium.
    • Stir continuously, and add in the grated parm and the seasonings (it should go without saying, but taste your sauce to see what it needs more of)
    Add the milk slowly, as you want the sauce to be the right consistency – it will get thicker after the cheese is added in as well
    • Once the sauce seems to be the proper consistency, stir in your sausage crumbles (or, if using real sausage, your ground meat), as well as the fresh arugula or spinach
    • Continue to stir over low heat until spinach/arugula is cooked and meat is cooked through (if you are using real sausage)
    The finished sauce
    • Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil, and once boiling, cook the pasta to the al dente specifications on the the bag or box
    • Once the pasta is cooked, drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside
    • Heat oven to 350, and butter a casserole dish or dutch oven
    • Using a ladle, cover the bottom of the casserole dish in a layer of sauce… this will be the glue into which you’ll be able to stand the cooked noodles upright
    • Arrange the pasta noodles standing up
    • Once the noodles are organized and covering the floor of the dish, use a pastry bag, large ziplock, or a small teaspoon to fill the noodles with the sauce mixture
    • Bake uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes
    • Plate noodles standing in upright position, and top with ricotta and fresh basil or parsley
    Voila!

    The whole time I just spent typing up this recipe, I was thinking of those cats… I’m telling you, I won’t rest until something has been done and I know they have a home or at least a safe shelter. I can’t sleep or relax knowing they are three streets down without a soft and warm place to sleep.

    Found these Free People jeans on Poshmark for $30

    In other news, I probably should stop buying things I don’t need from Poshmark. I mean I found these awesome bell bottoms, but I also bought some heart shaped sunglasses I probably don’t need and might never get a chance to wear.

    Time to go cook tonight’s dinner and brainstorm ways to save those cats. I might just go hang out around the community garden tomorrow and see if I can find a person to talk to about putting a shelter there.

    Cheers fam.